This report is based primarily on research conducted by Christopher Panico, then a researcher at Human Rights Watch, in Turkey in August, September, and November 1997. It was written by Mr. Panico, and edited by Jeri Laber, senior adviser to Human Rights Watch, and Holly Cartner, executive director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch. Parts were edited by Elizabeth Andersen, advocacy director, Human Rights Watch, and supplemental research was conducted by Kumru Toktamis. Invaluable production assistance was provided by Patrick Minges, publications director, and by Alexandra Perina and Joshua Sherwin, associates, Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch would like to acknowledge and thank the many individuals whose contributions made this report possible.

You can say there is no freedom of expression, you can say there is press

freedom, and you are right in both statements. It's not like in a typical dictatorship-the borders are not clear, you can't know where they are. The application of the law is arbitrary. But in many ways the arbitrariness is worse. You don't know when you will get into trouble.

Ahmet Altan, novelist and political columnist

Something that occurred in 1985 is indicative of free expression, as well as the general level of democracy in Turkey. Emil Galip was meeting with someone from a foreign human rights organization and showed her a book outlining violations of human rights that had just been published here. The visitor lamented the abuses, but commented that things were not that bad if you could publish a book about them. Emil Bey called me later and was worried that he gave the wrong impression. But that is the situation here.

Erbil Tü-alp, political columnist, Radikal

I.          SUMMARY

This report examines the state of free expression in Turkey. It focuses largely on the print and broadcast media, and to a lesser extent on freedom of speech in politics. The report deals with the period from 1995 to the present; when necessary, however, earlier periods are also explored. Given the plethora and ideological breadth of the media and of political parties in Turkey, this study cannot hope to deal with each and every newspaper, author, or political group. Rather, it uses representative cases to highlight violations of the internationally-protected right to free expression.

The press in Turkey-in the vernacular of psychiatry-suffers from multiple personality disorder. When reporting on the vast majority of issues, such as domestic party politics or the economy, the media today is lively and unrestricted-indeed often sensational. Nearly all points of view are expressed, from radical Islamist to Kurdish-nationalist and dyed-in-the-wool Kemalist. The boundaries of criticism are nearly limitless when reporting on most issues.

Such freedom, however, ends at the border of a number of sensitive topics. Alongside the arena of free discussion there is a danger zone where many who criticize accepted state policy face possible state persecution. Risky areas include the role of Islam in politics and society, Turkey's ethnic Kurdish minority and the conflict in southeastern Turkey, the nature of the state, and the proper role of the military.

Repression for reporting or writing on such topics includes the killing of journalists by shadowy death squads believed linked to or tolerated by security forces, imprisonment and fines against journalists, writers, and publishers, the closing of newspapers and journals, the banning of books and publications, denial of press access to the conflict in southeastern Turkey, the banning of political parties, and the prohibition on the use of Kurdish in broadcasting and education. Media owners and editors sometimes serve as ideological overseers, forcing journalists to practice self-censorship and, at times, firing obstreperous reporters and columnists. In addition, since mid-1997, the powerful military has started to pressure newspaper owners and editors to support its anti-fundamentalist campaign.

For its part, the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey for the past fourteen years, has exerted a deleterious influence on the press and press freedom. It has kidnapped and killed journalists, instituted bans against press operations in southeastern Turkey that forced most papers temporarily to close their Diyarbak-r bureaus, and pressured journalists working at Kurdish-nationalist papers to practice self-censorship.

Even when writing on sensitive topics, however, a wide latitude holds sway, and different realities exist for different individuals. Recent films, such as Reis Çelik's Let there be Light (I-klar S-nmezsin), a frank account of the conflict in southeastern Turkey, or the depiction of police torture in Mustafa Alt-oklar's Heavy Novel (A-r Roman), have pushed barriers.

Well-known columnists at mainstream papers can-and for the most part do-write critically on such topics, usually with little fear of prosecution. The introduction of private broadcasting in the early 1990s has also expanded the range of debate and discussion.

Journalists working at a Kurdish-nationalist publication, however, face likely punishment or worse for similar boldness. In 1997, for example, three journalists-two from the now defunct Kurdish nationalist Demokrasi paper and a reporter for the mainstream private television channel ATV-were arrested for interviewing two former PKK members. The state prosecutor charged that the trio of reporters had pressured the men to make their statements, which were deemed detrimental to state interests. The pair, however, had earlier given similar accounts without incident to other newspapers and to two popular television news programs. They even testified before a commission of the parliament of Turkey. The three journalists were later acquitted.

Timing also plays a role. During periods of liberalization, the doors of expression swing open, and repressive press laws, while still on the books, are often ignored by state prosecutors. During periods of crisis, on the other hand, such as an escalation in the conflict in southeastern Turkey, those very same doors are slammed shut, and state authorities invoke the full measure of the law, including against well-known journalists and writers. Oral Çali-lar, a columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet, interviewed the PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, and the head of the Socialist Party of Kurdistan, Kemal Burkay, in early 1993. His interview ran as full-page articles without incident for eighteen days. When the interviews were published in book form in September 1993, however, the State Security Court of Istanbul banned the publication and charged Mr. Çali-lar and his publisher with "separatist propaganda" under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. The interview appeared in Cumhuriyet during an unofficial cease-fire, while the book came out during an escalation of the conflict in the fall of 1993.

Repressive actions are facilitated by Turkey's antiquated legal system and restrictive constitution, which reflect the country's more authoritarian past. The present constitution was introduced in 1982 by military authorities after the coup of 1980. It replaced the liberal constitution of 1961 which, ironically, was adopted after the coup of 1960. The penal code, while amended many times, was adopted in 1926 and is based on the Italian penal code of 1889. Some of the amendments, however, actually increased penalties.

The legal system and the constitution are negatively influenced on two concepts: an omnipotent state and the ideology of Kemalism, introduced by Mustafa Kemal, the founder of the modern Turkish state. While some may indeed argue that such concepts were necessary seventy-five years ago when the Republic of Turkey was founded and certainly were not unique to Turkey, they have little place in a world that prizes the individual and seeks to make government transparent to its citizens.

The notion of an all-powerful state, which appears to exist as a goal in and of itself, is sown throughout the 1982 constitution. Until amended in 1995, the preamble of the constitution even spoke of a "sacred state." Such concepts are also found in Turkey's legal framework. The penal code, for example, grants corporate state bodies, such as the judiciary or the army, "moral identities" that can be "insulted." Aptly titled, State Security Courts (Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemesi) exist to protect the state. In an effort to protect the inner workings of the state from prying eyes, civil servants are forbidden by law from speaking to the press.

The legacy of "Kemalism"-the attempt to build a homogeneous, modern society based on secular, Westernizing principles and a monoethnic Turkish identity-is manifested in the law either through vague warnings or, conversely, through absolute prohibitions. The preamble of the constitution, for example, threatens that, "No protection shall be given to thoughts or opinions that run counter to Turkish national interests, the fundamental principle of the existence of the indivisibility of the Turkish state and territory, the historical and moral values of Turkishness, or the nationalism, principles, reforms, and modernism of Atatürk, and that as required by the principle of secularism there shall be absolutely no interference of sacred religious feeling in the affairs of state and politics."[1][1] One statute of the Political Parties Law, similarly, criminalizes the creation of "ethnic minorities" while Article 312.2 of the penal code prohibits "incit[ing] people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious, confessional, or regional differences."

Whether officially acknowledged or not, however, society has moved beyond many of the principles of Kemalism and the "sacred state mentality." The myth of monoethnic Turkish identity has been exposed, and Turkey's citizens are increasingly aware of their different ethnic backgrounds-whether Kurdish, Circassian, Georgian, Chechen, or Laz. Attempts to attribute dubious Turkish ethnic backgrounds to non-Turkish groups, such as calling Kurds "Mountain Turks," have been abandoned. Even in indictments to close political parties, prosecutors have begun to acknowledge the existence of minorities. Furthermore, some principles of Kemalism have been dropped outright, such as the belief in the state ownership of enterprises and central economic planning. In fact, since 1986, the government has been aggressively pursuing a privatization campaign. Transparency, the antidote to the "sacred state," is sought by all, whether businessmen who want to change a Banking Law that conceals the identity of insolvent financial institutions or journalists who want the right to interview civil servants.

The principle of secularism as defined by Kemalism remains the most muddied and manipulated concept of all. Since the transition to multi-party democracy in 1946, all the center-right parties have appealed to religious sentiment in campaign messages despite manifest prohibitions to the contrary. Furthermore, in 1982, the military-ostensibly the guardians of the Kemalist revolution-for the first-time introduced constitutionally-mandated religious instruction in elementary and secondary schools.

The legal framework still lags far behind developments in society. Recognizing this, successive governments since 1990 have sought to liberalize laws that are used to punish free expression-without, however, addressing the underlying rationales for creating such legislation in the first place. Subsequent results have been palliative, at best. In 1991, the government repealed a law passed in 1983 that prohibited the use of Kurdish (Law No. 2932) together with Articles 141,142, and 163 of the penal code that penalized, respectively, writers found guilty of communist, Kurdish-nationalist, and Islamist activities. In place of these laws, however, the government passed the Anti-Terror Law. Articles 7 and 8 of that law are often used to punish free expression dealing with the Kurdish question. Furthermore, laws still exist that prevent broadcasting in Kurdish, teaching Kurdish in private or state schools, and using Kurdish in political campaigns. In 1995, the government was forced to amend Article 8 to narrow its scope, resulting in the releases of scores of writers and others from jail. In August 1997, the government of then Prime Minister Mesut Y-lmaz suspended the sentences of a number of so-called responsible editors who had been imprisoned on free expression charges. Despite these improvements, individuals are still being charged and imprisoned on free expression charges.

Every state has a duty-indeed an obligation-to maintain public order, and Turkey faces legitimate security threats. But that responsibility must be seriously weighed against the right of the individual to express his opinions and to argue for change peacefully within a democratic system.


To the government of Turkey:

•           investigateall "actor unknown murders" including those of journalists listed in thisreport;

•establish acommission consisting of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, thestate minister responsible for human rights, the head of the Press Council ofTurkey, and a representative from the human rights community of Turkey toreview sentences imposed under Articles 168 and 169 of the penal code(membership in an armed group and aiding an armed group) to those working atnewspapers and other publications in order to determine whether theirconvictions were based on concrete evidence, and not on the mere fact ofworking at such a publication or the exercise of other internationallyprotected rights;

•repeal oramend all laws and decrees that violate international standards, including butnot limited to the following:


•repealparagraph 5 of the preamble of the constitution, which states that,

•No protectionshall be given to thoughts or opinions that run counter to Turkish nationalinterests, the fundamental principle of the existence of the indivisibility ofthe Turkish state and territory, the historical and moral values ofTurkishness, or the nationalism, principles, reforms, and modernism of Atatürk,and that as required by the principle of secularism there shall be absolutelyno interference of sacred religious feeling in the affairs of state andpolitics.

•repealArticle 26.2 and Article 26.3 of the constitution, which place severerestrictions on Article 26.1, "Freedom of Expression and the Dissemination ofThought;"

•amendArticles 28.5 and 28.7 of the constitution and additional Article 1 of thePress Law to remove from prosecutors and others the right to confiscatepublications without first obtaining a court order;

•repealArticle 28.10 of the constitution and additional Article 2 of the Press Lawthat allow courts to close publications;

•repealArticle 28.2 of the constitution, that prohibits publication in languages"prohibited by law;"

•repealArticle 42.9 of the constitution and Article 2 of the Foreign Language andTeaching Law, both of which state that, "The mother tongue of Turkish Citizenscannot be taught in any language other than Turkish;"

The Penal Code

•repealArticle 155 of the penal code, which penalizes publishing articles that "makepeople unwilling to serve in the military;"

•repealArticle 158 of the penal code, which prohibits "insult[ing] the President ofthe Republic;"

•repealArticle 159 of the penal code, which criminalizes "insulting the moralpersonality of Turkishness, the Republic, the Parliament, the Government, StateMinisters, the military or security forces, or the Judiciary;"

•amendArticles 311 and 312.2 of the penal code, "publicly inciting a crime" and"inciting people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious,confessional, or religious difference" to prevent the punishment of thought;

•repealArticle 312.1 of the penal code, which prohibits "praising an action consideredcriminal;"

Other laws

•stripmilitary courts of the right to try civilians for violations of the militarypenal code;

•repealArticle 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, which prohibits so-called "separatistpropaganda;"

•repealArticle 4 of the Law Concerning the Founding and Broadcasts of Television andRadio (RTÜK) to allow broadcasting in any and all languages, and to removevague and general broadcasting prohibitions that contradict internationalstandards;

•amend The LawConcerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk to limit criminal activity solelyto acts contained in Article 2 of the law, which penalizes destroying,defacing, breaking, or ruining a statue, bust, or monument representing Atatürkor the grave of Atatürk. Such activities would be considered destruction ofpublic property, punishable under international law;

•repealArticle 16 of the Press Law, which assigns a "responsible editor" topublications and articles in order to broaden criminal liability;

•repealArticle 58 of the Law Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and VoterRegistries to allow the use of any and all languages during politicalcampaigns;

•repealArticle 81 of the Political Parties Law, "Preventing the Creation ofMinorities;"

•repealArticle 8 of the Police Duty and Responsibility Law, which gives police theadministrative right to close down plays, films, or lectures; and

•repealArticle 15 of the State Civil Servants Law, which prohibits civil servants fromspeaking to the press.

To the U.S. government:

•use itsspecial relationship with the government of Turkey to encourage Turkey to adoptpolicies with respect to freedom of expression that comport with internationalstandards;

•work with theTurkish government and military to live up to their commitments to improvehuman rights practices, including through the decriminalization of freedom ofexpression, a condition set by the United States State Department for thepotential sale of U.S.-manufactured military helicopters to Turkey; and

•continue topromote civil society and freedom of expression in Turkey through assistance toindependent Turkish non-governmental organizations.

To the Organization for Security and Cooperation inEurope:

•identifyimprovements in freedom of expression as an important goal to be met in advanceof Turkey's hosting of the 1999 OSCE summit;

•work throughthe OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media to address the legal andstructural obstacles to freedom of expression in Turkey; and

•work throughthe OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities to address restrictions onfreedom of expression, in particular language and education rights, that relateto ethnic minorities in Turkey.

To the European Union:

•raiseconcerns relating to restrictions on freedom of expression with Turkishgovernment counterparts; and

•continue topromote civil society and freedom of expression in Turkey through assistance toindependent, nongovernmental organizations in Turkey.

To the Councilof Europe:

•addressTurkey's record on freedom of expression using the monitoring procedures of theCommittee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly, calling for the legalreforms identified as necessary in this report; and

•through theCouncil's program of intergovernmental cooperation and assistance, provideTurkey with expert advice regarding needed reform of its laws on freedom ofexpression.


Since the beginning of the 1990s, two issues have dominatedTurkey's political agenda: the place of a substantial ethnic Kurdish minority,estimated at between 10-20 percent of the population, and the proper role ofIslam in an overwhelmingly Muslim though officially secular country.

Since 1984, southeastern Turkey has been the scene ofserious fighting between government security forces and the PKK (Workers' Partyof Kurdistan, "Partia Karkaren Kurdistan"), a militant armed Kurdish group whoseexplicit claims range from complete independence to regional autonomy withinTurkey. The conflict, which reached a peak between 1992-1995, has beencharacterized by severe human rights abuses by both the security forces and thePKK. The government intensified a counterinsurgency campaign against the PKK,forcibly evacuating and burning rural villages. The majority of the more than2,500 villages and hamlets depopulated in the region since 1984 are believed tobe the result of this campaign. In 1991, an Anti-Terror Law was passed which,among other things, resulted in the repression of non-violentexpression-especially concerning debate on the Kurdish issue-and theimprisonment of writers and intellectuals. By 1992, the conflict in thesoutheast entered a new spiral. Torture and deaths in detention increased, asdid disappearances under mysterious circumstances. A wave of so-called "actorunknown murders" believed linked to or tolerated by security forces struckKurdish nationalist intellectuals and journalists and also suspected PKKmembers, with the number of such deaths rising to 1,288 between 1992 and 1995.

For its part, the PKK is also guilty of severe human rightsabuses, intimidating and murdering those who stand in its way. The PKKassassinated individuals suspected of "cooperating with the state," such asteachers, civil servants, and former PKK members. Between 1992-1995, the PKK isbelieved to have committed at least 768 politically-motivated assassinations.In addition, it launched attacks against villages that had joined thegovernment civil-defense "village guard" program, killing village guards andtheir families alike in large-scale massacres.

There were some attempts, not entirely unsuccessful, toadopt a more liberal policy regarding ethnic Kurds. In 1991, Mr. Turgat Özal,the president, succeeded in abolishing Law. No. 2932 forbidding the use ofKurdish and also broke down the taboo about discussing the Kurdish issue inpublic debate. That effort, combined with the introduction of private television,spawned a raucous and largely unlimited debate on the Kurdish question thatlasted through 1993. In November 1991, Mr. Suleyman Demirel, now president andthen the newly-elected prime minister from the center-right True Path Party(DYP), spoke about acknowledging the "Kurdish reality." Although Turkeysoftened the Anti-Terror Law in 1995 and eased some restrictive articles of theconstitution the same year, further attempts at liberalization regarding theKurdish question fell victim to the escalating violence described above. InSeptember 1995, the coalition government between the DYP and the center-leftRepublican People's Party (CHP), which had been in power since the October 1991parliamentary elections, collapsed. New elections were held in December 1995.To the shock of many, the Islamist Welfare Party (RP) received a thin pluralitywith 21.4 percent of the vote.[2][2]After the short-lived failure of an interim government, the Welfare Partyformed a coalition government with the center-right DYP in July 1996.

The Welfare Party's leader, Mr. Necmettin Erbakan, who hadserved as Deputy Prime Minister in three earlier coalition governments in the1970s, became prime minister. The Erbakan government quickly abandoned thehazily-defined, purportedly Islam-based "Just Order" reform program on which ithad campaigned. Nevertheless, it infuriated the powerful military and othersectors of the secular establishment through its attempt to legalize certainaspects of Islam at odds with Turkey's constitution, such as allowing femalecivil servants to wear head scarves, and by its efforts to improve ties withstates such as Libya and Iran. The military establishment, further upset by theWelfare Party's attempt to pack the bureaucracy with its supporters and of intemperatestatements by some party leaders, declared "fundamentalism" Turkey's number onethreat. In February 1997, the military dominated National Security Council(MGK) presented Mr. Erbakan with an eighteen-point program to rein in Islamistactivity, including closing the first form of state supported "-mam-Hatip"religious schools. The government promised to implement the program, but didlittle. On June 11, 1997, the General Staff headquarters issued a statementthreatening that "weapons would be used if necessary in the struggle againstfundamentalism." One week later, Mr. Erbakan resigned. In February 1998, aftera trial in the Constitutional Court, the Welfare Party was closed and severalof its leaders, including Mr. Erbakan, were barred from politics for fiveyears.[3][3]

Following the resignation of Mr. Erbakan, a weak coalitiongovernment was formed by Mesut Y-lmaz, leader of the center-right MotherlandParty, in July 1997. Mr Y-lmaz in turn lost a vote of confidence in December1998, and was replaced as Prime Minister by Bülent Ecevit, head of a smallcenter-left party.[4][4]The conflict in southeastern Turkey continues, although at a much reduced levelfrom its 1992-1995 peak. The military still considers "fundamentalism" Turkey'snumber one threat and has pressured the government on several occassions totake a harder line against political Islam. Early elections are scheduled forApril 1999.

The military's intense reaction to political Islam must beunderstood as a legacy of Kemalism, the loose set of modernizing principlesbased on a homogenous, monoethnic Turkish identity and secular Westernizationthat is still recognized as Turkey's official creed. The constitution declaresthat it is guided by "...the concept of nationalism set forth by the Founder ofthe Republic of Turkey, the eternal leader and unrivaled hero Atatürk, and bythe revolution and fundamental principles introduced by him..."[5][5]The so-called "Six Arrows of Kemalism" were adopted as the official stateideology in 1931 and made part of the constitution in 1937. They have beenadopted in some form in all subsequent constitutions. The "Six Arrows" includedfealty to the following principles: republicanism; secularism; nationalism;populism; statism, and reformism.[6][6]In its harshest application of the 1930s and 1940s, Kemalism brooked nodifference or dissent, whether based on ethnicity, social class, or religion:"total cohesion and unity among all the groups who made up the people [wasrequired] and there was no room for a conflict of interest among them."[7][7]

The principles of Kemalism as reflected in society, however,have been in flux for quite some time, at least since the adoption ofmulti-party democracy in 1946. Kemalism means different things to differentpeople, and its interpretation can be manipulated for political necessity oraltered to reflect changing conditions. Furthermore, the situation iscomplicated by the fact that Kemalism was never codified into a rigid set ofrules.[8][8]

Religion remains one of the most contested areas. While thesecular identity of Turkey, i.e. a non-Sharia state ruled by civil law, hasnever been seriously contested by the vast majority of the population, theexact definition of "secularism" is hotly debated. Despite strict prohibitions,nearly all the center-right parties have appealed to and flirted with-andcontinue to do so-religious feelings and piousness. Article 87 of the PoliticalParties Law, however, prohibits "the exploitation of religion and thingsconsidered religiously sacred." After the 1980 coup, even the military embracedreligion as a hoped for antidote against leftist "tendencies" among the youthof Turkey. Under Article 24 of the 1982 constitution, the staunchly secularmilitary introduced mandatory religious instruction for primary and middle-schoolstudents.[9][9]Even the number of -mam-Hatip religious schools, which the militarysuccessfully sought to reduce with the passage of an eight-year education billin 1997, increased from 258 to 350 during the period of military rule, whichlasted from 1980 to 1983.[10][10]

The concept of "nationalism," which, in its most virulentform, denied the very existence of Kurds and other non-Turkish minorities, hassoftened and Turkish officials now acknowledge their presence.[11][11]Turkey's politicians, however, have been unable or unwilling to anchor thisrecognition in law.

Although under increasing criticism, the idea of anomnipotent, centralized state that transcends the individual is still very muchalive in Turkey.[12][12]The "state" is usually construed to include the bureaucracy, the military, thepolice, the judiciary, the courts, and the government. Before it was amended in1995, the preamble to the 1982 constitution even spoke of a "sacred State" (kutsal Devlet).

Public officials and politicians regularly invoke the "state"to defend their actions or justify restrictive policies. In a recent case inManisa in which ten teenagers were convicted of membership in an armed groupbased almost exclusively on testimony taken under torture, a journalistcomplained that,

How was this verdict given? It was given solely bytaking police assertions (iddialar-)as a basis. If we continue the process of taking police assertions as evidence,we are going to experience a lot more "Manisas" in this country. When we acceptthe state as a sacred body and put those who work for it in a special category,we will not be able to liberate ourselves from these injustices.[13][13]

Facing the loss of his parliamentary immunity for hisalleged involvement in the Susurluk scandal, Mehmet A-ar, a former policeofficial and interior minster, defended himself by stating that, "I havecommitted myself to the state and to the nation, not to the parliament."[14][14]His co-defendant, the ethnic Kurdish parliamentarian Sedat Bucak, announcedthat he was, "A statist to the end."[15][15]A policeman on trial for the murder of a suspect during interrogation assertedthat, "If you convict us, you will have convicted the state."[16][16]

In a more general sense, the omnipotent, "sacred" stateconcept obstructs the free flow of information and hinders transparency. Statebodies often view non-state actors as disruptive competitors. One commentatornoted that, "Indeed the military and (at least until quite recently) thecivilian bureaucracy have traditionally seen themselves as the guardians of thestate and the protectors of public interest. Consequently, they have viewedwith suspicion all particularistic interests and political parties thatrepresented them."[17][17]

Armed conflict in the southeast hasheightened consciousness of the state and its territorial integrity. Underinternational law, every state has the right to defend its territory from bothforeign and domestic attack, and Turkey certainly has faced a legitimatesecurity threat from the PKK. States do not, however, enjoy the right to useany means they deem necessary to combat such threats, but must conductthemselves within the framework of international humanitarian and human rightslaw. Turkey has often failed in establishing that delicate balance betweenfighting a legitimate security threat and protecting individual rights,including the right to free expression as protected under Article 10 of theEuropean Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

Turkey's inability to balance the right of free expressionwith the exigencies of protecting territorial integrity has roots in thecountry's Ottoman past, when foreign powers-either directly or by supportinglocal minorities-whittled away Ottoman lands. A 1997 indictment to close apro-Kurdish party reflects this fear of dismemberment, which often views anyreform or concession as the first step toward ruin:

There is no doubt that there are different groups ofpeople based on religion, race, language, and confession in many countries.Extending minority rights to all these groups could put the nation and nationalunity in danger. Demands for recognition of cultural identity based onaffirming difference, have a tendency of separating from the whole over time.[18][18]

Even a recent Turkish parliamentary report on migrationfaced charges of "separatism" because it reportedly called for removingobstacles to private education, television, and radio broadcasts in Kurdish.[19][19]


Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protectionof Human Rights

Turkey's primary legal obligationto protect freedom of expression is set out in the 1953 European Convention forthe Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which Turkey ratified in1954 (Turkey is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights). In particular, Article 10 of the convention provides:

1.Everyone hasthe right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to holdopinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interferenceby public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not preventStates from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinemaenterprises.

2.The exerciseof these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may besubject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as areprescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interestsof national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for theprevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, forthe protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing thedisclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining theauthority and impartiality of the judiciary.

While protecting the right to freedom of expression, Article10 allows tailored restrictions in the defense of, among other things, nationalsecurity and territorial integrity. Any assessment of whether a givenrestriction violates Article 10 requires an evaluation of "whether a fairbalance has been struck between the individual's fundamental right to freedomof expression and a democratic society's legitimate right to protect itself."[20][20]In addition, given the supreme importance placed on free expression, "the needfor any restrictions must be established convincingly."[21][21]It is not enough for a government to show that the purpose of limitationsimposed was "useful," "reasonable," or "desirable;" instead, it must show thatthe measures met a "pressing social need."

In three recent cases, the European Court of Human Rightshas issued judgments relating to free expression in Turkey. As stated above,the court was guided by the principle that a state may only restrict freeexpression under Article 10(2) where it can demonstrate a "pressing social needwhich would justify the finding that the interference complained of was‘proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.'"[22][22]Applying these standards, the court ruled in two of the cases that Turkey hadviolated Article 10; in the third case, it found the restriction at issue to bepermissible under Article 10(2).

InIncal v. Turkey,the court ruled that Turkey had violated Article 10 when it prosecuted membersof the Izmir branch of a pro-Kurdish party in a national security court onterror charges for a leaflet it had prepared and submitted to authorities forapproval to distribute.[23][23]The court stated,

Subject to paragraph 2, it [Article 10] is applicablenot only to "information" or "ideas" that are favourably received or regardedas inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend,shock or disturb... In order to demonstrate the existence of a "pressing socialneed" which would justify the finding that the interference complained of was"proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued," the representative of theGovernment asserted...that "it was apparent from the wording of the leaflet...that they were intended to foment an insurrection by one ethnic group againstthe State authorities." The court is prepared to take into account the backgroundof the case submitted to it, particularly problems linked to the prevention ofterrorism... . Here the court does not discern anything which would warrant theconclusion that Mr. Incal was in any way responsible for the problems ofterrorism in Turkey, and more specifically Izmir... In conclusion, Mr. Incal'sconviction was disproportionate to the aim pursued, and therefore unnecessaryin a democratic society. There according has been a breach of Article 10 of theConvention.[24][24]

InThe Socialist Partyand Others v. Turkey, the court ruled that Turkey had violated Article 11,which protects freedom of association, when the Constitutional Court of Turkeyordered the closure of the Socialist Party (SP) in 1992.[25][25]The court closely linked Article 10's protection of free expression to therights guaranteed in Article 11.[26][26]It explained:

The Constitutional Court [of Turkey] noted that... Mr.Perinçek [the former head of the SP] had advocated the creation of minoritieswithin Turkey and, ultimately, the establishment of a Kurdish-Turkishfederation, to the detriment of the unity of the Turkish nation and theterritorial integrity of the State.

...[T]he court has previously held that one of theprincipal characteristics of democracy is the possibility it offers of resolvinga country's problems through dialogue, without recourse to violence...Democracy thrives on freedom of expression... Having analyzed Mr. Perinçek'sstatements, the court finds nothing in them that can be considered a call forthe use of violence, an uprising or any other form of rejection of democraticprinciples... Mr. Perinçek's statements, though critical and full of demands,did not appear to call into question the need for compliance with democraticprinciples and rules...In conclusion, the dissolution of the SP wasdisproportionate to the aim pursued and consequently unnecessary in ademocratic society.[27][27]

InZana v. Turkey,however, the court ruled that Turkey had not violated the rights under Article10 of Mr. Mehdi Zana, a leading Kurdish political figure and the former mayorof Diyarbak-r, the largest city in southeastern Turkey, when it convicted himunder terror charges in a state security court for making the statement, "Isupport the PKK national liberation movement; on the other hand, I am not infavor of massacres. Anyone can make mistakes, and the PKK killed women andchildren by mistake."[28][28]

The court noted that it was necessary to take into accountthe context in which the statement was made, explaining:

The statement cannot, however, be looked at inisolation. It had a special significance in the circumstances of the case, asthe applicant must have realized. As the court noted earlier... the interviewcoincided with murderous attacks carried out by the PKK on civilians insouth-east Turkey, where there was extreme tension at the material time. Inthose circumstances the support given to the PKK-described as a "nationalliberation movement"-by the former mayor of Diyarbak-r, the most important cityin south-east Turkey, in an interview published in a major national dailynewspaper, had to be regarded as likely to exacerbate an already explosivesituation in the region. The court accordingly considers that the penaltyimposed on the applicant could reasonably be regarded as answering a "pressingsocial need" and that the reasons adduced by the national authorities are"relevant and sufficient... There consequently has been no breach of Article10.[29][29]

Domestic Law

A host of laws that punish freeexpression exist in Turkey. Many are so loosely worded or broadly applied thatthey violate the principle, as defined by the European Court of Human Rightsand outlined in the previous section, that restrictions of free expressionunder Article 10.2 must strike "a fair balance...between the individual'sfundamental right to freedom of expression and a democratic society'slegitimate right to protect itself" as well as meet a "pressing social need."

The 1982 constitution grants the right of free expressionwhile at the same time qualifying the exercise of that right to an absurddegree. Its preamble states, for example,

No protection shall be given to thoughts or opinionsthat run counter to Turkish national interests, the fundamental principle ofthe existence of the indivisibility of the Turkish state and territory, thehistorical and moral values of Turkishness, or the nationalism, principles,reforms, and modernism of Atatürk, and that as required by the principle ofsecularism there shall be absolutely no interference of sacred religiousfeeling in the affairs of state and politics.

Articles 26, 27, and 28 of the constitution, which grant,respectively, freedom of expression, science and art, and the press, containmore paragraphs limiting these rights than granting them.[30][30]

Some of the laws most frequently used to limit freeexpression include Articles 155, 158, 159, and 312 of the Penal Code, Article 8of the 1991 Anti-Terror Law, and Law No. 5816, the "Law concerning crimescommitted against Atatürk."

Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code, one of the mostwidely employed laws, grants a "moral personality" (manevî -ahsiyeti) both to corporate bodies, such as the judiciaryand parliament, and to abstract concepts like "Turkishness." Article 159 warnsthat,

Those who publicly insult or ridicule Turkishness, theRepublic, the moral personality of Parliament, the Government, State Ministers,the military or security forces of the state, or the moral personality of theJudiciary will be punished with a penalty of no less than one year and no morethan six years of maximum security imprisonment...[31][31]

In an official commentary on the law, a High Appeals Court (Yarg-tay) judge argues that,

The goal of this article [159] is to protectconstitutional bodies (the Parliament, the lower house, the senate), thegovernment, the ministers, public moral personalities (Turkishness, theJudiciary, the state military, security...forces...) fromall types of attack; securing respect, together with the state'sexistence, honor, and identity for the state's highest bodies and the state'sbasic moral personalities is directly relevant and important. ...Therefore, thecrimes listed in Article 159 carry a special importance and uniqueness amongthe crimes committed against state forces.[32][32]

Other penal code articles restricting free expression thatpurport to protect state bodies and their moral personalities include Article155, "alienating people from military service," and Article 158, "insulting thepresident."[33][33]

Another frequently used penal code article is 312.2, whichprohibits "incit[ing] people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial,religious, confessional, or regional differences."[34][34]Article 312.2 has largely been used against those writing about and debatingthe Kurdish question. In the absence of specific legislation prohibiting"Islamist propaganda," however, it has recently begun to be used againstIslamists.[35][35]

Article 8 of the 1991 Anti-Terror Law outlaws "propagandaagainst the state's indivisibility."[36][36]Its scope was initially so wide-it took no account of intent or method-thateven Turkey's greatest living writer, Ya-ar Kemal, was prosecuted under it.[37][37]Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, before it was amended in 1995, stated that,

Regardless ofmethod or intent, written or oral propaganda along with meetings, demonstrations,and marches that have the goal of destroying the indivisible unity of the statewith its territory and nation of the Republic of Turkey cannot be conducted.[38][38]

Eager to win approval of a Customs Union deal with theEuropean Union and embarrassed by the attention paid to cases like Mr. Kemal's,in October 1995 the government of then Prime Minister Tansu Çiller (DYP) pusheda bill through parliament amending Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. Thatamendment removed the phrase "regardless of method or intent." Consequently,eighty-two individuals charged under Article 8 were released.[39][39]Prosecutors, however, continued to open cases under the amended Article 8. TheY-lmaz government presented a bill to parliament in the spring of 1998 thatwould liberalize Article 8.[40][40]It is currently pending.

Article 1.1 of Law No. 5816 penalizes, "anyone who publiclyinsults or curses the memory [of Atatürk]...with a sentence of between one andthree years."[41][41]Law No. 5816 has primarily been used against Islamists, though mainstreamintellectuals have also been sentenced under it.


The Role of the Print Media

The media in Turkey today is caughtbetween two contradictory roles. On the one hand, it tries, not without somesuccess, to report news objectively and serve as a forum for public debate.Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a relatively small group ofjournalists, columnists, and editors, critical columns appear and unpleasantfacts are reported under the arbitrary eye of state prosecutors. What iswritten in newspapers-despite their low daily circulation of only around threemillion-still counts. -ahin Alpay, a columnist for the dailyMilliyet, commented that,

Despite all the setbacks, if it weren't for the press,you couldn't talk about democracy or about pushing a liberalizing agenda. Inthe 1960s and 1970s, universities were the principal spokesmen for civilsociety, but they were put back in their place after the coups of 1971 and1981. After 1980, it became the press that served as the voice for civilsociety.[42][42]

Another journalist acknowledged that the press, when itwishes, can make a difference.

If the press wants to do something, it can. It does havesome power. For the first three days after Metin Göktepe was murdered thepapers wrote that he was killed under suspicious circumstances. But then mostjournalists, especially young ones, realized that the same could happen to themand started to pressure the higher ups to really investigate. It was completelythrough these efforts that the newspaper editors had to change their approach.AtYeni Yüzy-lfifteen of us told thedirectors that if the approach wasn't changed we would all resign... If allevents were followed like Göktepe, today things would be better.[43][43]

A daily reading of the Turkish press bears out theseobservation, revealing an often lively and critical debate on any number ofissues. Even commentary on the Kurdish conflict, a highly-charged and sensitivetopic, is often critical and open. One study of the conflict noted that,

All is not in solid conformity, however, even in themainstream press. An important distinction has to be made between the reportingend of the news and columnists. Nearly every day in one paper or another-mostoften in the more liberal or intellectual papers, or even in the Islamistpress-there are analyses or pieces by columnists who take a more critical andthoughtful approach to the Kurdish problem...[44][44]

On the other hand, the media often views itself as anadvocate of state interests in general and a friend or a foe of a particulargovernment. Economic dependence, many believe, lies at the root of this stance.[45][45]According to many journalists Human Rights Watch interviewed, more and morenewspaper owners have begun to play an unhealthy role in setting editorialpolicy. They are all too eager to fall into line to support official statepolicy, even at the cost of sacrificing journalistic ethics and standards. Mr.Alpay noted that,

Myexperience in working in the Turkish press is thatif a sensitive issue comes up, editors would say, "How would the authoritiestake this, how is this coordinated with Turkish national interests."[46][46]

One columnistat amainstream Istanbul daily echoed these sentiments:

Mainstream papers often see themselves as spokesmenfor the state. They often use the first-person plural "We" voice. Many of ourreporters, for example, talk to officials in a deferential way. They start aquestion by saying, "My General" or "My Minister", rather than "Mr. Minister"or "General." Once you establish that link, it is difficult to ask toughquestions." Look at the emblems on, for example,SabahorHürriyet.When Iwas an editor atHürriyetthereporter from Germany suggested that we remove the slogan on the front page"Turkey for Turks." For example, during the flag incident at the HADEPcongress, the mainstream papers wrote headlines like, "If the state doesn'tpunish them, we will punish them."[47][47]

This tendency has only been exacerbated by increasingmonopolization of the media. At present, two main holdings, the Do-an and Sabahgroups, control between 65 and 70 percent of daily newspaper sales, dependingupon circulation.[48][48]

Nazmi Bilgin, the head of the Ankara Journalists Association(Ankara Gazeteciler Cemiyeti) addedthat,

There is a certain kind of censorship connected withmonopolization. Two groups control 75 percent of readership. Monopolization isthe twin sister of censorship...There is a certain level of self-censorshipbecause of the relationship of owners and the state. I want anti-trust laws inTurkey to be passed.[49][49]

Deunionization has accompanied monopolization. Except forCumhuriyet, the semi-official AnatolianNews Agency, and two smaller press agencies, ANKA and ULUSAL, journalists andother press workers do not enjoy union representation. One journalist notedthat,

The Journalist Union still exists, but deunionizationstarted in 1990 and 1991. People were pushed to resign from the union. Itstarted atMilliyet. The newspaperssimply do not want to have to conduct collective bargaining with theiremployees. Earlier all the papers had union representation.[50][50]

The Role of Private Television

Television was introduced in Turkeyin 1963 with the establishment of the state-run Turkish Radio and Television(TRT).[51][51]In 1980, a second state-run channel was added, TRT-2. It broadcast in theperiods when TRT was off the air.[52][52]In 1990, while on a visit to the United States, then President and former PrimeMinister Turgut Özal announced that private foreign broadcasters could sendprograms to Turkey via satellite despite a constitutional ban on privatebroadcasting.[53][53]At the time, Article 133 of the constitution gave the state-owned TRT acomplete monopoly on radio and television broadcasting. Mr. Özal's son, Ahmet,quickly founded Turkey's first private television station, Magic Box, whichbegan broadcasting from Germany. Soon a myriad of stations followed, preparingstories in Turkey but broadcasting them via satellite from abroad. By 1993there were close to 700 private radio and television stations in Turkey despitetheir precarious legal status.[54][54]Finally, on July 8, 1993, parliament amended Article 133 of the constitution topermit private broadcasting in Turkey.[55][55]

The introduction of private television has undoubtedlyincreased the overall level of free expression-as well as the number of gameshows, glitzy pop videos, and sensationalist reporting. Today the majority ofTurks, like people all over the world, get their news from television. Atpresent, there are sixteen national television stations-only four of which arestate-owned-and another 360 local stations.[56][56]Dr. Haluk -ahin, a professor of communications and news coordinator of Kanal-D,a private television station, stated that,

With the private channels, a lot changed. Old tabooswere broken. Programing was shown that dealt with Islam, the Kurdish question,homosexuality, adultery. TV found that there was an audience. Free and moreaggressive reporting was allowed. Anything went from early 1991 to mid-1994.There were no rules.[57][57]

Political talk shows lasting hours-on-end provided anunregulated forum to discuss Turkey's most pressing problems, whether Kurds orpolitical Islam. One commentator noted that, "The past year [1994] has broughta revolution. In a country where the very word Kurd was taboo until a few yearsago, millions tuned in two weeks ago to a no-holds-barred debate about theKurdish question between top Turkish officials, Kurdish nationalists, andordinary people that lasted nine hours until seven o'clock in the morning."[58][58]

Regulation, however, soon caught up with the free-wheelingprivate television senders in the form of the Radio and Television Law of April13, 1994 (RTÜK).[59][59]Article 4 of the law mandates broadly-worded broadcasting principles anddictates sweeping restrictions. It states, among other things, that broadcastscannot contradict, "the national and spiritual values of society" and "thegeneral morality, civil peace, and structure of the Turkish family."[60][60]The law also prohibits broadcasting in Kurdish.[61][61]A nine-member board, with five seats appointed by the government and four namedby the opposition parties, implement theRTÜKlaw.

Radio and television stations face two penalties under thelaw: a warning and temporary closure. Article 33 allows the board to warnstations that violate provisions of Article 4; should the station violate aprovision again, it can be closed temporarily for up to one year. Usually, thepenalty consists of a one-day broadcast stop, which the station has a right toappeal in an administrative court. A bill amending theRTÜKlaw was recently presented by the Y-lmaz government to theTurkish parliament. It appeared, however, to be targeted more at increasing thesphere of economic activity for owners of television stations than atincreasing free expression. The bill was defeated.[62][62]

Almost all the national television stations-as well many ofTurkey's 1,500 radio stations-have been closed down for various periods,causing revenue loss and reduction in market share. On any given day, it is notuncommon to see a black screen on television with the words, "Closed by orderofRTÜK." On June 20, 1997, the dailyMilliyetreported that eighttelevision stations and two radio stations have been given closure penalties.[63][63]A major broadcaster, Kanal D, had the following record of warnings andclosures: 1994, five warnings; 1995, two closures and five warnings; 1996, tenclosures and five warnings; 1997, six closures; 1998, thirteen closures.[64][64]Many of these penalties were handed down for violating either Article 4d of thelaw, which states that broadcasts must be made in context of "the generalmorality, civil peace, and structure of the Turkish family," or Article 4m,which prohibits broadcasts that a "negatively affect the physical, mental,psychological, or moral development of children and youth." Sometimes closureis the result of a politically-charged broadcast. A local television station inDiyarbak-r, Metro TV, was closed for one month in January 1998 afterbroadcasting a program featuring interviews with relatives of PKK securitydetainees who had taken part in a hunger strike.[65][65]Metro TV was closed for violating Article 4g, "the principle of not allowingbroadcasts that create feelings of hatred in the community by encouragingviolence and ethnic separatism."

All journalists whom Human Rights Watch interviewedcriticized theRTÜKLaw and itseffect on broadcasting. Oktay Ek-i, editor-in-chief ofH-rriyetand the director of the Press Council, stated that," Youmust have legislation to change RTÜK. At present, political will shapes it. Itsboard consists of nine members: five from the government parties and four fromthe opposition. It must be completely independent."[66][66]-enol Caner, legal council for Kanal D, complained about the imprecise wordingof the law: "We are always walking on thin ice because many of theseprohibitions are so vaguely worded."[67][67]

At present, private television still provides an importantforum for debate, along with the usual soft news programing and fluff found oncommercial television stations around the globe. Thanks to the RTÜK laws andother politically-inspired restrictions, however, private broadcasting has losta large degree of its earlier luster and near absolute freedom. A producer fora popular news program summed up the present situation in the following way:

The contribution of private TV. The fact that thereare seven or eight or however many private television stations doesn't showthat there is freedom of expression. It is appropriate to me. We have one ofthe best news programs in television. We try to do things in a Western way...Wehave a lot of information and we do respectable work...[But] sometimes we haveto say things indirectly. The bosses of the program have to make a decision. Dowe show everything or do we pull back. Two out of three programs will sendpeople's eyes out of their heads; one we pull back on.[68][68]

Fehmi Koru, the chief columnist at the dailyZaman, believed the influence of privatetelevision had largely been positive until early 1997, when the military began toplay a more open role in politics. According to him,

If you asked me three to four months ago about privatetelevision, I would have said yes. All gave credence to new ideas and newthoughts. People learned things on the news programs. But in the past four tofive months, all stay more or less in line with the official line.[69][69]

The Role of the Military

The military today sees itself asthe defender of the Kemalist republic and all it stands for. Supported by tradeunions, the press, and big business, the military ousted the Islamist-ledgovernment of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan in June 1997. Since that time,the military has not left the political scene. In its fight against"fundamentalism," the military today plays a greater role in day-to-day politicsthan at any time since the restoration of civilian rule on December 24, 1983.

The army wields its influence mainly through the NationalSecurity Council (Milli GüvenlikKurulu-MGK), a half-civilian/half-military organ chaired by the presidentand provided for under Article 118 of the constitution.[70][70]The MGK gives the military a voice on matters "with regard to the formulation,establishment, and implementation of the national security policy of thestate."[71][71]"National security policy" is understood to include almost all issues, bothforeign and domestic.

Not surprisingly, the high-profile role of the military hashad a negative effect on the freedom of the press and the media. Pressure cancome directly or indirectly. In November 1997, the National Security Councilcalled on the Supreme Radio and Television Board (RTÜK) to crack down on theburgeoning number of private Islamist radio and television stations.[72][72]In March 1998, Ya-ar Kaplan, a columnist for the radical, pro-Islamist dailyAkit,was arrested and remanded intocustody on charges that he violated Article 95.4-5 of the Military Penal Codeprohibiting "press crimes aimed at poisoning hierarchial military relations."[73][73]That same month, the Office of the General Staff banned Mehmet Ali Birand,Yalç-n Do-an, and Muharrem Sar-kaya from entering military bases or fromspeaking with members of the military, reportedly because of their reporting.[74][74]In April, alleged testimony from a captured PKK field commander, -emdin Sak-k,fingered Birand and another columnist, Cengiz Çandar, as "PKK stooges." Theunsubstantiated and highly improbable charges would most likely not have beenleaked without the permission of the army, which captured Sak-k and took partin his interrogation. The dailySabah,for which both men worked, suspended Mr. Çandar temporarily and forced out Mr.Birand.

Human Rights Watch has also heard first-hand reports fromseveral mainstream, respected journalists concerning the military'sheavy-handed pressure against those it perceives as troublesome or as not fullysupporting the drive against "fundamentalism." Some have even asserted that theOffice of the General Staff has begun to keep files on journalists, noting thetone and content of their reporting and columns. One reporter stated that,

In late March or April General Çevik Bir, who was thenDeputy Chief of Staff, went to Istanbul to the office of our publisher, Ayd-nDo-an, with a folder of articles that he did not like. He also had a number ofnames of journalists with whom he was displeased. After that my editor calledme on the phone and said, "Be careful."[75][75]

Human Rights Watch is aware of at least one case in which acareer journalist, Koray Düzgören, a former writer and editor of the "Forum"page of the dailyRadikal,was firedafter his editors received pressure from military authorities.[76][76]Mr. Düzgören apparently ran afoul of the military because of his criticalwriting on the Kurdish question and because of his assertions that themilitary-as well as the police-were implicated in the Susurluk scandal.[77][77]According to Mr. Düzgören,

Radikalstarted to publish in October 1996. The paper glowed because of its earnestpublishing about the gangs that were uncovered following the Susurluk incident.Circulation increased. But, later, when all the big media groups joined thecampaign to force Refah out of power,Radikalwas no exception...It turned out that writing and criticism distant to statediscourse were not approved. The military was not to be criticized. Thissituation was openly communicated to the writers by the paper's administrators.It was stated that the military kept files for some journalists either at theNational Security Council or the General Staff and gave grades on performance;we were told that, "In the past few daysRadikal'sgrades have been falling a lot..." On March 2, I was told the following by theGeneral Director of the paper: "We know that you have been successful, and theaffair doesn't stem from you. Your writing at this paper is not wanted by themilitary...The owner of the paper, Ayd-n Do-an, could not do anything aboutthis demand. Therefore you are not going to write anymore. We apologize forthis and for the unexpectedness of the situation."

After a thirty-year career as a journalist in the mainstreampress, Mr. Düzgören is unable to find work in his profession.


Political Killings

Between 1992-95,politically-motivated killings resulting from the Kurdish conflict engulfedTurkey. Journalists were not exempt from this violence. During this period,twenty-nine reporters were murdered in Turkey, the overwhelming majority in thesoutheast or for reasons connected with the conflict there.[78][78]Of the twenty-nine murdered journalists, one died under suspiciouscircumstances in police detention, one was shot by a police armored car at thetime of unrest during the Nevroz festival in 1992, one was murdered for unknownreasons, five were believed killed by the PKK, two were murdered by thefar-left armed group "Revolutionary Left" (Dev-Sol), one was murdered by thefar-right armed group -BDA-C (Islamic Great Eastern Raiders-Front) in a bombingattack, and eighteen were the victims of "actor unknown murders" (faili meçhul cinayetleri). Many of these"actor unknown" murders are believed to be carried out by groups allegedlylinked to security forces or acting with the connivance of the police.[79][79]The vast majority of those killed in "actor unknown murders" worked forKurdish-nationalist papers such asÖzgürGündemandÖzgür Ülke.

Murder of non-combatants became an art practiced by all,including by shadowy groups believed to be acting in concert with or with theconnivance of security officials or by the PKK. The PKK committedpolitically-motivated murders to eliminate opposing political groups within theKurdish community and to intimidate those who cooperated with the state, suchas civil servants, teachers, or village guard members and their families.Between 1992 and 1995, the height of political violence, the PKK committed atleast 768 politically-motivated murders.[80][80]In order to show its strength among the local population, the PKK usually tookresponsibility for these killings.

The "actor unknown murders" (faili meçhul cinayetleri) struck large numbers of individualsbelieved sympathetic to Kurdish-nationalist aspirations, whether those fightingfor minority rights for Kurds or alleged PKK members and sympathizers.Politicians from the pro-Kurdish parties, intellectuals, lawyers who took PKKcases, doctors suspected of treating wounded PKK fighters, businessmen believedto be channeling funds to the PKK, and journalists at far-left orKurdish-nationalist publications all fell victim, as did the urban and ruralcadres of the PKK. Often the attacks took place in broad daylight, even in thecenter of provincial capitals. Victims were killed with a single shot to thehead or after being kidnapped and tortured. Few individuals were ever broughtto trial for these killings. Between 1992 and 1995, at least 1,288 individualsare believed to have been murdered in such attacks.[81][81]

While definitive guilt-in the absence of an investigation ofeach killing-cannot yet be assigned for the "actor unknown murders," evidenceuncovered by-among others-two Turkish parliamentary commissions and a 1997investigation by the prime minister's office points toward either direct orindirect state involvement in a number of incidents. Security forces arebelieved to have used captured PKK members who turned state'sevidence-so-called confessors (itirafçi)-to commit these killings. In other cases, police are alleged to have simplyturned a blind eye as enemies of the PKK, such as the radical IslamistHezbullah, conducted attacks. Even whenstate authorities arrested those believed involved in such killings, such asthe widescale round-up ofHezbullahmembers in 1995-1996, little was done to explore links to security forces.

In 1995, a special commission of the Turkish parliamentissued a report on "actor unknown killings." The commission was formed in 1993,after the car bomb murder of the popular investigative journalist, U-ur Mumcu.While the commission did not directly charge that the state conducted a policyof assassination or was knowingly involved in such killings, the 328-pagereport stated that security officials, village guards, and confessors acting"as individuals" had been involved in some of the "actor unknown killings" andgave concrete examples.[82][82]Certain parts of the report, however, seem to go farther by way of inferenceand raise serious questions that are left unanswered. According to the report:

Actor unknown political murders are usually committedin the middle of the street, in the city's busiest places and in broaddaylight. The fact is that the perpetration of murders committed in broaddaylight in the city's busiest districts elicits fear and suspicion among thecitizens. The fact that perpetrators of politically-motivated murders cannot becaptured is perceived by the citizen as the state turning a blind eye to thesemurders in light of the fact that security forces capture or determine theperpetrators of murders carried out in criminal cases within a short period.Thus the organization [PKK] uses this very cleverly and conducts propagandaalong these lines. If the state wants the trust of the citizens, at the desiredmoment it must be able to capture or determine the perpetrators of thesecrimes. If actor unknown murders are committed and their perpetrators cannot befound in a small district like Silopi or in the busiest streets of thedistricts like Silvan and Batman, the impression arises that these [actors]cannot be determined because the state does not want to. The citizens do notserve as witnesses because of the widespread propaganda conducted [by the PKK]alleging that the state committed the actor unknown political murders andbecause of the fact that in the beginning the fate of citizens who werewitnesses...was also to become victims of actor unknown political murders...Despite the fact that there was a killing, a citizen's relatives and friendsare afraid to serve as witnesses in killings committed in a coffee house infront of twenty or thirty people in murders committed in the busiest center ofa town. The state remains under suspicion because individuals known as"Hezbullah" conduct an operation and then cannot be captured in a region whereeven the PKK organization which has created urban committees cannot carry outan operation in broad daylight in the town's busiest street.[83][83]

The so-called "Susurluk scandal" reignited the public debateconcerning the state's role in "actor unknown killings" and its use ofextrajudicial methods. On November 3, 1996, a car loaded with weapons,silencers, and passports issued in false names crashed head-on with a trucknear the district town of Susurluk in western Turkey. Aside from its strangecargo, the vehicle transported an even stranger group of passengers: HüseyinKocada-, the head of the Istanbul Police Academy; Abdullah Çatl-, anultra-right wing (ülkücü) militantwanted by Interpol and indicted for seven politically-motivated killingscommitted in 1978; Gonca Us, allegedly Mr. Çatl-'s girlfriend; and Sedat Bucak,an ethnic Kurdish parliamentarian and Kurdish tribal leader. Mr. Bucak's tribesupplies a large number of village guards in the state's fight against the PKK.All but Mr. Bucak were killed in the accident.[84][84]Shortly after the compromising incident, the parliament organized a commissionto conduct an investigation. While the commission's report proved somewhatdisappointing, some of the evidence given before it-which was later publishedas a two-volume book-did not.[85][85]

Hanefi Avc-, who worked in the intelligence branch of theDiyarbak-r Security Directorate from 1984 to 1992 and later served as theassistant director of the General Security Directorate Intelligence, testifiedthat some in the security apparatus began to seek out "extrajudicial" methodsof combating the PKK. According to him, the state faced a dilemma. Normalmethods, i.e., arresting those believed to have committed offenses and puttingthem on trial, proved less than effective in fighting the PKK. Mr. Avc-testified that,

Sir, my observations are like this: In the heads ofsome security officials there was [the belief] or some such feeling that thestate could not sufficiently fight against the serious attacks of the PKK andagainst some PKK members and individuals who were giving large-scale support tothe PKK using merely legal means. So you see, you have some people givinglarge-scale support to the PKK and they are captured. Sufficient evidence, however,cannot be brought against them and they are let go. Or, you have a few peoplewho are giving quite a bit of intelligence to the PKK and because of that quitea few officials are being martyred. Again, however, you could not conduct aproper legal proceeding. At that time some state officials began to believe inthe need to fight this with a different kind of struggle, in the necessity todo one's duty with a new kind of understanding, more accurately put, in thenecessity to conduct one's duty acting outside the law and outside the legalsystem...[86][86]

The commission had no power to indict and dissolved itselfin April 1998 after the report appeared.

In January 1998, an investigative committee under the primeminister issued its own Susurluk report. Then Prime Minister Mesut Y-lmazreleased the report, written by Kutlu Sava-, in a somewhat censored form.[87][87]While the report is less than comprehensive, it admitted that security forceshad teamed up with some organized crime figures and ultra-right wing nationaliststo "eliminate" ethnic Kurdish businessmen, drug dealers, and others believed tobe financing the PKK. The report alleges that, "The beginning of the Susurlukevent could even perhaps be hidden in a sentence of then Prime Minister TansuÇiller, who said ‘We have in our hands a list of businessmen helping the PKK.'After that the executions started."[88][88]The report states that such operations also took the life of the ethnic Kurdishwriter and journalist Musa Anter, murdered in 1992. The report admits, however,that "the decision to kill [Anter] was a mistake."[89][89]The report laconically admits that, "Other journalists were killed."Unfortunately, the section immediately after this sentence is censored.

Beatings and Other Violence

Beatings and other violence againstjournalists-especially when covering demonstrations or in southeasternTurkey-is largely a function of two factors: the poor training of police; and,more importantly, an increasing politicization of the security forces.

After the 1980 coup, an attempt was made to depoliticize thepolice force, which had splintered into rival right- and left-wing unions,Pol-Bir and Pol-Der.[90][90]Unfortunately, while leftists were purged from police ranks, ultra-rightistsremained. In addition, it appears that Islamists-especially graduates of-mam-Hatip religious high schools-were increasingly recruited into policeranks.[91][91]

Security forces-especially those involved in actions againstthe PKK or armed radical leftist groups-have seemingly cultivated a tight, iflargely unofficial, relationship with ultra-nationalist right-wing groups,so-called "-lk-c-," or "idealists."[92][92]In addition, many police sympathize with far-right nationalist or Islamistgroups. Kemal, a former policeman who was expelled from the force for contactwith an outlawed left-wing group, complained that,

What they tell you at the police school and what youdo on the job are two different things. At the school they taught us abouthuman rights, but at demonstrations-I was a riot policeman for three years withthe riot police ("Çevik Kuvvetleri")-theywould tell us to beat the people if it was a leftist protest but to showrestraint if they were rightists or Islamists. There were two standards: if youcapture a religious person, one standard, but if you capture a leftist, youbeat him. About eighty or ninety percent of the police in my unit were MHP orfundamentalist.[93][93]

Recep Ordulu, who served as the assistant security directorin Istanbul before the 1980 coup, concurred with his opinion:

A person falls to the ground, but they keep beating.The police have the authority to use force, but they shouldn't exceedthis...Actions by certain groups are seen as guilty, while others are met withtolerance. You know the police have one attitude for those who protest outsidethe Israeli Embassy and another one for left-wing groups.[94][94]

In July 1996, the liberal Istanbul dailyCumhuriyetcompared the police reactionto demonstrations by the leftist civil servant unionKESK, which was met with night sticks and attacked, and one by theright-wing unionKAMU-SEN, whichreceived a friendly greeting from police.[95][95]

A 1995 reportprepared by the center-left Republican People's Party (CHP), at the time thejunior partner in the government of Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, criticized theincreasing influence of extreme right-wing and fundamentalist groups among thesecurity forces. Such groups are usually ideologically hostile to Kurdish andleft-wing organizations, the groups police deal with most often in securitycases. The report presented the following conclusions: of the seventy-sevenprovincial security directors, 48 percent were alleged to be either radicalfundamentalists (köktendinci) orextreme nationalists (-lk-c-); police academies and "special team" trainingcenters only accept those with a "nationalist" reference because only"nationalists fight against terror;" only 18 percent of the provincial securitydirectors could be considered "democrats;" the police had a mentality toconsider all those not from their ranks as the enemy.[96][96]One scholar commented that, "Young right-wing hoodlums, who once carried outraids against "leftist" tea houses, now became policemen and schoolteachers orwere recruited into the special forces fighting the Kurdish guerrillas."[97][97]

Other sources make the same charges. In August 1994, -evketKazan, the former justice minister from the Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party, charged that most membersof the "special teams," noted for their abusive behavior in southeasternTurkey, were members of the far right Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi-MHP).[98][98]In the fall of 1996, the headquarters of the General Staff prepared a brochurefor internal distribution to all security forces in the southeast titled,"Public Relations and Winning the People in Internal Security."[99][99]In a warning directed at "special team members," the brochure called onsecurity force members not to wear or make symbols of a "definite politicalnature that incites the populace;" implied was the "grey wolf" and threecrescent symbols associated with MHP and -lk-c- groups.[100][100]During an investigation of the Sivas massacre of 1993, when fundamentalistsburned down a hotel killing thirty-seven Alevi intellectuals, a Turkishparliamentary investigation committee discovered that Islamist bulletins faxedto local newspapers and believed to have provoked the public to violence weresent from the Sivas Security Directorate.[101][101]

Many journalists, in contrast, especially younger ones, tendto support left-wing or liberal political parties or beliefs. Researchconducted by the Contemporary Journalists Association in 1994 indicated thatmost journalists in Turkey leaned to the left. In response to thequestion-"Which political inclination...are you closest to?"- journalistspolled gave the following answers: 8 percent, conservative; 23 percent,liberal; 51 percent, social democratic; 14 percent, socialist; 1 percent,communist; two percent, other.[102][102]

Consequently, police often view reporters as ideologicalenemies who "meddle" in police affairs, especially those who work for leftistpublications. The case of Metin Göktepe, who worked as a photojournalist forthe now defunct left-wing dailyEvrensel,represents an example of such an encounter.[103][103]He was beaten to death in police detention in January 1996, after having beendetained while covering a funeral for far-left prisoners killed in a prisonriot.

Mr. Göktepe was taken into custody along with twojournalists from mainstream dailies, who were later released. Initially theprosecutor in the case stated that G-ktepe had been released and died in anearby park, while then Istanbul Security Director Orhan Ta-anlar denied thatthe journalist had even been detained by police.[104][104]In fact, G-ktepe was detained at noon on January 8, 1996, in Istanbul whilecovering a funeral of prisoners reportedly beaten to death during prisonunrest. Other reporters witnessed his detention and other detainees reportedspeaking to him. Police detained roughly 1,000 individuals and held them in asport center turned into a temporary holding facility. G-ktepe's body wasdiscovered roughly eight hours later at a snack bar near the sports facility.An autopsy indicated that G-ktepe died of internal bleeding to the brain andbody due to blows.[105][105]

In April 1998, anti-terror police on trial for the death ofa suspect in their custody attacked journalists, bystanders, and defenselawyers after they were found guilty.[106][106]When riot police stationed outside entered the court room, they too began tobeat the journalists and lawyers.[107][107]Although the Ministry of the Interior conducted an investigation into theincident, its findings have not been made public. Both the police and thevictims of the beatings filed appeals at the Council of State (Danistay). As ofJanuary 1999, the case was still pending.[108][108]

During demonstrations, especially by Islamists or right-winggroups, police often harass journalists. After a recent Islamist demonstration,one commentator noted that,

...Scenes of police savagely billy-clubbing young menor dragging females along the ground by the hair so familiar in leftistdemonstrations were absent last Tuesday...police showed the utmost restraint tothese demonstrators, and received their reward with chants of appreciation andsolidarity from the crowd. Instead, the full fury was turned on themedia...four camera men were injured seriously enough to requirehospitalization.[109][109]

A reporter for a mainstream daily who covered similarIslamist demonstrations in August and September 1997 commented that,

At Islamist demonstrations, both the demonstratorsbeat us up and the police beat us up...Last Friday, there was an attack onjournalists at a Friday mosque demonstration. Some of the journalists caughtone of the attackers and gave him to the police, who then sent him away. Theynever even detained him...We see this double standard toward Islamists. Wedon't, of course, want violence used against them, but they use violenceagainst us and nothing happens. Yesterday, the Islamists had a protest inBeyazit. Nothing happened. Compare that with what happens with leftiststudents, who are beaten and tortured. A police official, Mehmet Ca-lar, evenshouted to the protestors, "Eh, Cemaat, we don't want to hurt you." At anotherincident, one policeman was shouting, "Don't illegalize your action." But theentire action was illegal as the demonstrators had not been given permission.Last Friday, the same policeman said to the press, "You are agitating thecrowd. Leave."[110][110]

Police who attacked journalists during these demonstrationsadmitted that they had done so because "they were seeking revenge for havingbeen presented in a bad light."[111][111]

During May Day demonstrations in 1998, supporters of thefar-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP)hung a high school student-presumably a leftist-out of the window of theirlocal headquarters and beat him viciously.[112][112]The MHP activists then attacked journalists covering the event. When they wentto the nearest police station to complain, they were told that the man beingbeaten and hung out the window "was a fellow Grey Wolf (MHP activist) who wasbeing restrained from leaping onto passing leftists."[113][113]


While no one-including the government-refutes the fact thatjournalists are imprisoned in Turkey on free expression charges, there islittle consensus on the exact number. According to the U.S.-based Committee toProtect Journalists (CPJ), as of March 1998 there were twenty-nine journalistsin jail on free expression charges.[114][114]Another thirteen journalists, according to the group, were imprisoned but theirconfinement could not be confirmed as being "directly related to their work."[115][115]On May 6, 1998, Reporters San Frontieres (RSF) called for the immediate releaseof two journalists imprisoned in Turkey.[116][116]In May 1997, RSF had announced that there were eight journalists in prison onfree expression charges, but most of these were released after a limited August1997 amnesty for imprisoned journalists.[117][117]At that time, the RSF General Secretariat and the RSF Istanbul Bureau statedthat they could not establish whether seventy-seven other imprisoned presspeople (bas-n çal-an) were imprisoned because of "press crimes."[118][118]They promised, however, to investigate the issue. The Press Council of Turkey,which in the past had worked with CPJ, announced that there were eleven journalistsin jail in Turkey as of March 31, 1998.[119][119]For its part, The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey lists sixty imprisonedjournalists as of March 1998.[120][120]

It is difficult to arrive at a definitive number accepted byall because the overwhelming majority of journalists imprisoned in Turkey areostensibly convicted not on press charges, but under either Article 168 of thepenal code (membership in an armed group) or Article 169 (aiding an armedgroup).They overwhelmingly write for publications sympathetic to armed groups.[121][121]Sometimes, these newspapers or magazines glorify acts of violence committed bythe armed group with which the publication sympathizes.

Human Rights Watch believes that the mere act of working ata publication that sympathizes with an armed group is neither proof ofmembership in that group nor is it illegal in and of itself unless theindividual in question writes articles openly calling for acts of violence andthere is reason to believe that violence will result. Such utterances may not beprotected speech under restrictions allowed under Article 10.2 of the EuropeanConvention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, towhich Turkey is a party.[122][122]Human Rights Watch is also concerned that individuals who work for such publicationsface serious police abuse and torture during interrogation and may not receivedue process during their trials.



A capricious arbitrariness characterizes the punishment offree expression. This arbitrariness reflects the general political atmosphereduring any given period. A journalist writes an article on a controversialtopic without incident. A year later, however, the same reporter writing asimilar story faces criminal charges. A series of articles may be published ina newspaper uneventfully, only to confront a legal challenge when republishedas a book. A cartoonist for the satirical left-leaning political comic bookLemancommented that, "One year it isokay, nothing happens. It seems as if they don't follow you. Then all of asudden the authorities start to make a fuss over nothing."[123][123]Mustafa Islamo-lu, an Islamic intellectual, commented that, "There is a spacethat does exist. It was not given, but taken by force. There is no general tendency.It is not unidirectional. It is a hit-and-run type thing. Sometimes theoppressing forces attack and try to push away the alternative forces andvice-versa."[124][124]Ahmet Altan, a leading columnist and novelist, observed that,

You can say there is no freedom of expression, you cansay there is press freedom, and you are right in both statements. It's not likein a typical dictatorship-the borders are not clear, you can't know where theyare. The application of the law is arbitrary. But in many ways the arbitrarinessis worse. You don't know when you will get into trouble.[125][125]

Turkey's antiquated legal framework provides a basis forarbitrary actions. Though amended numerous times, the Turkish Penal Code datesfrom 1926, when it was adopted from Mussolini's Italy.[126][126]During that period, according to Bernard Lewis, a leading scholar on Turkey,"Political activity against the regime was banned and newspapers were understrict control."[127][127]Another scholar, Kemal Karpat, has written that, "The press was most tightly controlled,both in its daily work and in obtaining permission for founding newpublications. ABas-n Birli-i(PressUnion) was instituted for controlling the press."[128][128]

In 1946, however, after twenty-three years of virtuallyunchallenged, authoritarian one-party rule, the Republican People's Party (CHP)agreed to the introduction of a multi-party system. As part of the transition,martial law was lifted in 1947 and liberalizations were introduced atuniversities and in the electoral and association laws.[129][129]Furthermore, the Press Law was liberalized, a partial press amnesty wasintroduced, and the executive lost the power to close newspapers, whichreverted to the courts.[130][130]After a crushing defeat in the 1950 elections, the CHP peacefully handed powerto the newly-founded Democrat Party.

Even after this peaceful transition to multi-partydemocracy, however, much of the restrictive legal framework of the penal codewas left intact. In fact, new laws restricting free expression were passed,some directed against Islamists and some at communists.[131][131]One scholar has argued that,

By definition, a transition to democracy necessitatesan increase in freedoms; in Turkey, however, changes in the penal code at thetime of this transition increased penalties for already outlawed acts likeleft-wing propaganda and organization.[132][132]

Further reform was often counterbalanced by new stepsbackward. Many of the freedoms granted in the 1961 constitution, considered anextremely liberal and enlightened document, were rescinded by Law No. 1488,passed in September 1971 by a technocratic government installed by the militaryin the wake of the "Coup by Memorandum" of March 12, 1971.[133][133]The 1982 constitution, passed after the military coup of September 12, 1980,further regressed from the rights granted in the constitution of 1961 andcodified many of the restrictions of Law No. 1488.

Although numerous draconian laws exist on the books, thescope of what can be discussed without fear of prosecution has grown to includemost topics. Even when cases are opened, people still speak their minds. OralÇal-lar, a columnist with the Istanbul dailyCumhuriyet, commented that after he received a two-year sentenceunder Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, Murat Karayalç-n, then chairman of theSocial Democratic People's Party (SHP), the junior partner in the coalitiongovernment at the time, called him to consult about amending the very law underwhich Mr. Çal-lar had been convicted.[134][134]He added that, "It was hard for two Canadian journalists I know to understand this.For example, the fact that I was working for state television and I received asentence for separatist propaganda." In one of his columns, he quipped that,

Watching Ya-ar Kemal on the television program SiyasetMeydan-, I started to say to myself: Turkey is a strange country ofcontradictions. Our famous writer, one of Turkey's outstanding people, hasbecome the topic of one its most important programs. For hours he is defendingthe ideas for which he was convicted.[135][135]

Erbil Tü-alp, a columnist for the Istanbul dailyRadikal,had a case opened against himfor insulting then minister of justice, -evket Kazan. According to Tü-alp, "Iwrote that in a government with such people, I am ashamed to be a citizen. Iguess -evket Kazan took it personally. When I learned that I was going to betried, I wrote another article saying that ‘We would meet.'"[136][136]

A host of laws exist that can be employed when the statefeels threatened or wishes to target certain individuals. A study on theKurdish conflict has noted, for example, that, "There is almost an indirectrelationship between the level of PKK activities and the ability of columnists,as well as others, to discuss non-military solutions to the Kurdish question.The best example came about during the cease-fire of 1993, when newspapers werefull of stories about the PKK, which-while mostly negative-did not exhibit thehard edge they usually do."[137][137]Mr. Çali-lar, theCumhuriyetcolumnist,commented that,

When state wants to take steps for democracy therebecomes a bit more freedom. Four years earlier, during the period of thecease-fire, you could discuss all, including a peaceful solution. When thecease-fire ended...if you talked about such topics, you could get into trouble.[138][138]

As in many criminal justice systems throughout the world,penalties in Turkey vary according to the social status of the violator.Without exception, most individuals whom Human Rights Watch interviewed statedthat newspaper columnists in the mainstream press-many of whom enjoy nearsuperstar status-have the most freedom to write as they please. Ahmet Altan,the novelist andYeni Yüzy-lcolumnist, observed that, "I am not a good example. I write a critical article,it is printed. I'm older. I get into trouble, I get even more fame... Ifsomeone writes the same thing, it might not happen."[139][139]Oral Çali-lar, theCumhuriyetcolumnist,put himself in the same category with Mr. Altan: "I am one of the people whohas the fewest limits. Even though I am not afraid of violating them, it is afactor."[140][140]

If criminal proceedings are brought against such writers,they are almost never detained and their cases usually end in acquittal orsuspended sentences.[141][141]Ali Bayramo-lu, a former professor and columnist withYeni Yüzy-ladded that, "It depends on who you are if they effectyou directly or indirectly. My identity saves me, and my cases often end inacquittal...[In one case] I should have been guilty [according to the law]. ButI was acquitted."[142][142]

Those writing for Kurdish nationalist newspapers and forradical left-wing publications occupy the bottom rung of the hierarchy, and alarge number of cases are opened against them.[143][143]These publications are sometimes closed by state authorities, eithertemporarily or permanently-a punishment that rarely strikes mainstream newspapers.Yurdu-un Özsökmenter, assistant general publishing coordinator for the Kurdishnationalist paper[Ülkede] Gündemstated that, "We started the paper in July 1997. Since then twenty of theforty-one issues we have printed have been confiscated...In addition, almostevery day one of our distributors has been harassed."[144][144]When cases are opened, the indicted are often remanded into custody andsometimes face mistreatment and torture during police interrogation.Prosecutions often end in conviction.

The following three cases represent both the arbitrary andhierarchical application of laws limiting freedom of expression. In two of thecases, journalists were prosecuted for writing an article despite the fact thatthey had written similar stories at an earlier date without charge. In thethird case, three journalists were prosecuted for writing about a topic onwhich others reported without incident.

A respected journalist who has worked for the BBC, AFP, theFrench dailyLibération, as well as anumber of Turkish publications, Ragip Duran interviewed the leader of the PKK,Abdullah Öcalan, twice, once in 1991 and again in 1994. In March 1991, Mr.Duran published articles based on the interview in the center-left IstanbuldailyCumhuriyet.[145][145]No prosecution followed. A little over three years later, Mr. Duran againinterviewed the PKK leader. This time, however, he published his article in thenow-closed, Kurdish nationalist dailyÖzgürGündem.[146][146]Mr. Duran and a colleague were subsequently charged under Article 7.2 of theAnti-Terror Law, which prohibits conducting propaganda for illegalorganizations.[147][147]While a lower court found his colleague innocent, Mr. Duran was sentenced toten months of imprisonment and a fine of TL333,333,333 (around U.S. $4,000 atthe time).[148][148]He is currently serving his prison term at Saray prison outside Istanbul.

Timing clearly played a role in the prosecution of Mr.Duran. In early 1991, when he interviewed the PKK leader the first time, thenPresident Özal was pushing for increased rights for Turkey's Kurds.[149][149]During the general elections of October 1991, then leader of the True PathParty (DYP) Süleyman Demirel, announced that Turkey had acknowledged a "Kurdishreality." That same month, then President Özal told the dailyHürriyetthat, "We will solve theKurdish issue. It will be the last service I will do for my country. We mustdiscuss every topic openly, including a federation."[150][150]By 1994, however, when the second interview was published, fighting betweensecurity forces and the PKK was at its height.

Furthermore, while many liberal-left columnists andcontributors contributed toÖzgür Gündem,the paper's overall editorial line was largely viewed as sympathetic to thegoals of the PKK.[151][151]Cumhuriyet, on the other hand,although often critical of shortcomings in Turkish democracy and the rule oflaw, is generally seen as a pro-Kemalist paper.

The second case involves Oral Çali-lar, aCumhuriyetcolumnist. In early 1993, Mr.Çali-lar conducted a lengthy interview with Mr. Öcalan and with Kemal Burkay,the head of the Socialist Party of Kurdistan (SPK). The interview ran foreighteen days as a series of full-page articles inCumhuriyet.No criminal proceedings were opened against him or thepaper. Mr. Çali-lar even joked that a public prosecutor called him tocongratulate him on the interview:

Let me explain something comical to you. The headpublic prosecutor then, Ahmet K-ksal, called me and said, "It was a greatinterview. Good job." He was talking about the interview I did with Öcalan andBurkay, which ran as a series in Cumhuriyet in 1993. There was a preliminaryinvestigation, but it was dropped, absolutely no problem.[152][152]

When the series of interviews was published in book form inSeptember 1993, however, the State Security Court in Istanbul banned thepublication under Article 28 of the constitution, deeming it to be "separatistpropaganda."[153][153]Shortly thereafter, Mr. Çali-lar and the book's publisher, Muzaffer Erdo-an,were charged under Articles 8.1 and 8.2 for conducting separatist propaganda.[154][154]The indictment stated that, "It is understood that separatist propaganda hasbeen made by stating that one part of the land of the State of the Republic ofTurkey was shown as Kurdistan, that the Kurdish people are a separate nation,and are fighting a war of national liberation..."[155][155]In October 1994, both men were found guilty: Mr. Çali-lar was fined and given atwo-year sentence; Mr. Erdo-an was given six months and fined.[156][156]When Article 8 was amended in October 1995, the sentences were reduced, but thestate prosecutor appealed to restore the original penalties. The case is beingretried.

Again, timing played a role. The interview appeared during acease-fire, which, although not officially recognized by state authorities,held for nearly two months. The banning of the book and the subsequentprosecution occurred during an escalation of the conflict.[157][157]

The third case involves three journalists who wereprosecuted for interviewing two former PKK members, Murat Ipek and Murat Demir.Ahmet Sümbül and Zeynal Ba-r of the now-banned Kurdish nationalistDemokrasinewspaper and AbdulkadirKonuksever of the mainstream ATV television station were remanded into custodyin the summer of 1997 and charged under Article 169, aiding and abetting thePKK.[158][158]According to the indictment, "The suspects...acting according to the goals ofthe illegal PKK terror organization, by use of pressure and threat forced MuratIpek and Murat Demir to make statements to the press and in television, andthus helped the PKK organization."[159][159]In articles that appeared inDemokrasi,Mr. Ipek and Mr. Demir alleged that they committed in conjunction with securityforces several death squad style murders, including those of the ethnic Kurdishpoet Musa Anter.[160][160]

The two men, however, had previously made similar statementsto two prominent journalists and appeared before a Turkish parliamentarycommission investigating the January 1993 car-bomb murder of investigativejournalist U-ur Mumcu. According to the Ya-ar Altürk, counsel to the threeaccused:

Murat Ipek and Murat Demir said the same things to myclients as they did to numerous other journalists. They [the two former PKKmembers] spoke to the U-ur Mumcu Investigation Commission in parliament. Theyspoke to Mehmet Ali Birand of the program "32nd Day." They spoke to Kadir Çelikof the "Objektif" program on Show TV. The prosecution says that my clientsforced Ipek and Demir to speak and say these things in line with orders fromthe PKK. But there is absolutely no evidence for this. If what Murat Ipek hadstated occurred only in Diyarbak-r, maybe one could believe such an allegation.But he said these things all over Turkey and to many journalists and others aswell.[161][161]

On October 6, 1997, Messrs. Sümbül and Konuksever and Ms.Ba-r were released from custody, though their trial continued until September22, 1998, when they were acquitted.

Prosecution and Repression of the Kurdish-NationalistPress and Writers

Ethnic Kurds who express a group orpolitical identity that is uniquely Kurdish face severe prosecution andrepression from the state.[162][162]"Pro-Kurdish" or "nationalist Kurdish" publications and writers run a fairlybroad ideological gamut.Some have aneditorial policy sympathetic to the PKK or openly support the PKK. The head ofthe PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, even used to write a column under the pen name "AliEuphrates" in one of the Kurdish-nationalist dailies,Özgür Gündem. Other Kurdish-nationalist publications support oneof the smaller legal political parties or parties that, while not engaged inviolence, remain outlawed in Turkey, such as Kemal Burkay's Socialist Party ofKurdistan (SPK).

All these newspapers, however, share one thing in common:they all face serious abuses, such as the assassination of journalists byshadowy death squads, imprisonment, mistreatment while in police detention, andthe confiscation and closing of newspapers. When cases are opened against thoseworking at Kurdish-nationalist publications, the incidence of guilty verdictsand of remand into custody appears to be higher than with prosecutionsinvolving mainstream journalists.[163][163]Such cases usually, though not exclusively, involve prosecution under Article312.2 of the penal code and Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. The followingcases, while not exhaustive, are illustrative of such prosecutions.

•In June 1997,Ahmet Zeki Okçuo-lu, a lawyer and owner of the Doz publishing house, enteredprison to serve a ten-month sentence for his 1995 conviction under Article 159of the penal code.[164][164]Mr. Okçuo-lu,along with hisresponsible editor, Sedat Karaka-, were charged with "insulting the moralidentity of the Republic and Judiciary" for an article Mr. Okçuo-lu wrote forthe bilingual, Turkish-Kurdish weeklyAzadi(Freedom).[165][165]The court ruled that, "In the article titled, ‘The Turkish Republic Does NotWant to Make Peace with the Kurds,' which is the subject of the trial and waswritten by Ahmet Zeki Okçuo-lu,themoral personality of the Turkish Republic was insulted [by stating that] theTurkish Republic took the Kurds under control by force, denied their identityand national rights, conducted genocide against Kurds, worked to assimilatethem, denied the existence of Kurds, by illegal methods took their rights, and,furthermore, qualified the Turkish Republic as terrorist..."[166][166]

•Y-lmaz Odaba-, a writer andjournalist who has worked at various newspapers, faced three separateprosecutions connected with his book,Dü-ve Ya-am (Hope and Life). Two were directly because of the work and one wasrelated to a statement he made during a court hearing. The three cases includedone under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law for "separatist" propaganda; asecond under both Law No. 5816 for insulting "Atatürk," the founder of theTurkish republic and under Article 145 of the penal code for insulting the flagor other "symbols of state sovereignty"; and a third case under Article 159 for"insulting the court."[167][167]

In the first case, Mr. Odaba- wassentenced to eighteen months of imprisonment and a fine of TL933 million (U.S.$7594) in March 1997, while his publisher was given a fine of TL67.85 million(U.S. $522) under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. In the indictment, theprosecutor charged that,

Having examined the contents of the book in question,it has been indicated that in Turkey-despite the existence of the Turkishpeople-there is another people with a perspective based on race, and that thestruggle against the illegal separatist terror organization is actually astruggle of a people for their identity by stating that these people moan understate terror.[168][168]

For his part, Mr. Odaba- stated that, "I am not a supporterof the idea of an independent Kurdish state. However, in our country theexistence of Kurds also cannot be denied. If mentioning the existence of Kurdsis separatism, then I am a separatist."[169][169]The case is presently on appeal.

In the second case, Mr. Odaba-i and his publisher, NiyaziKoçak, were acquitted on appeal of charges of "insulting Atatürk" and"insulting the national anthem" in April 1998. In overturning the two-year andsix-month sentence, the High Appeals Court (Yarg-tay)ruled that, "The thoughts that Y-lmaz Odaba- expressed and wrote remainedwithin the borders of criticism." In the indictment, the prosecutor had arguedthat the following statement had "insulted the memory of Atatürk:"

Didn't Kemalism slaughter Mustafa Suphi and hiscomrades? Didn't Kemalism throw Naz-m in jail for years because he was acommunist? In the southeast, from Dersim to the Sheik Said rebellions, weren'thundreds of villages burned and tens of thousands slaughtered in the mostfrightening way under the directives of Mustafa Kemal and then under thespecial auspices of Fetih Okyar and others.[170][170]

Finally, upon the announcement of the sentence in the firstcase in March 1997, Mr. Odaba- exclaimed to the chief judge of the StateSecurity Court, "I am ashamed to live in the same country as you." For this hewas remanded into custody and charged with "insulting the court." He wasquickly released from detention, but on September 14, 1998, Mr. Odaba- wassentenced to seven months in this trial.

•In August1996, Fatih Ye-ilba-, who served as the responsible editor of the now-closedpro-Kurdish dailyÖzgür Gündemduringthe period between August and September 1993,was remanded into custody and put on trial under Article 159 ofthe penal code and Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. He was released fromprison after Law No. 4304 was passed in August 1997, which suspended thesentences and cases of responsible editors.[171][171]

Prosecution and Pressure on the Islamist Press

Pressure against the Islamistpress, writers and others has increased markedly over the past two years, aresult of the Turkish military's fear of what it perceives as the increasingIslamization of society.[172][172]Turkey has a broad spectrum of Islamist publications, ranging from independentto pro-Iranian. Major Islamist dailies includeZaman, Yeni -afak, Akit, and Milli Gazete.Zamanis a mass-circulation, quality daily published by a holdingcompany associated with Fetullah Gülen, a moderate who preaches a Turkish-Islamicsynthesis.Yeni -afakis considered apaper for Islamist intellectuals, whileMilliGazetesupports the now-banned Welfare Party and its successor, Fazilet.Akitis considered the most radical ofthe lot. Islamist television stations include Samanyolu and Channel 7, amongothers.

Two main laws are primarily used to prosecute Islamists. Thefirst, Law No. 5816, "concerning crimes committed against Atatürk," penalizesanyone who "publicly insults or curses the memory of Atatürk."[173][173]As the number of prosecutions has risen, however, state authoritiesincreasingly use Article 312.2 of the penal code which prohibits, "openlyincit[ing] people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious,confessional, or regional differences..." There has even been the suggestion ofreinstituting Article 163 of the penal code which was used in the past topenalize Islamists and was abolished in 1991 after the passage of theAnti-Terror Law.[174][174]Before its abolition, Article 163.4 punished those who, "contrary to secularism,make propaganda or suggestions with the purpose of adopting, even partially,the basic social, economic, political, or judicial structures of the Statebased on religious principles or beliefs or with the purpose of obtainingpolitical benefits or personal influence by making use of religion or religioussentiments or sacred things..."

The following cases are representative of prosecutionsagainst Islamist politicians, intellectuals, and writers.

•On April 22,1998, the popular mayor of greater Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdo-an of theIslamist Fazilet Party, the successor of the now-banned Welfare Party, wassentenced to ten months of imprisonment under Article 312.2 of the penal codeand fined TL716,666 (U.S. $14.58). Mr. Erdo-an was prosecuted for a speech hemade in Siirt in December 1997 in which he quoted the following poem: "Theminarets are our swords, the mosques are barracks, the domes are helmets."[175][175]The poem, which served as the basis for the prosecution, was written by ZiyaGökalp, an ethnic Kurd who is considered the intellectual father of Turkishnationalism. Initially, the Diyarbak-r State Security Court prosecutor, who hasjurisdiction for Siirt, decided not to prosecute the case.[176][176]In September 1998, the High Court of Appeals (Yarg-tay) confirmed the conviction. Mr. Erdo-an-a favorite forreelection as mayor and possible successor as leader of the main Islamistparty-is banned from politics for life under Turkish law because of theconviction.

•Mustafa-slamo-lu, an Islamist intellectual and writer, has been prosecuted severaltimes and imprisoned twice because of his writings and speeches.[177][177]In October 1995, he was remanded into custody after his sentence under Article159, "insulting Turkishness and the Republic," was confirmed upon appeal. Mr.-slamo-lu was prosecuted because of a speech in November 1993 at a forum on theKurdish question organized by the Islamist human rights group, Mazlum-Der. Thecourt ruled that,

He gave a talk on the Kurdish question. In this talk,with an Islamist philosophical point of view, he criticized the period of theOttoman Empire starting with Tanzimat together with the Republican period. Hestated that in Anatolia unity cannot be achieved on the basis of racism. Hestated that people of many races lived in Anatolia. Racism gave way todisunity. He stated that the common identity of those living in Turkey isIslam. Consequently, unity could be achieved in an Islamic framework. He statedthat the heart of the slogan "How happy is he who calls himself Turk" was aslogan that smelled of an ignorant and rotting racism...As outlined in thedetails above, the individual who openly insulted and ridiculed theRepublic...shall be punished according to penal code Article 159/1 to one yearof heavy imprisonment...[178][178]

While he was in prison on the first charge, a secondconviction under the "Law Concerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk" wasupheld by the High Court of Appeals. The prosecution stemmed from a December13, 1993, article, "Black Voice" (KaraSes) in the weeklySelam.[179][179]The prosecutor instituted the charges because Mr. -slamo-lu allegedly referredto the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal, as "a dictator." Inhis written defense, Mr. -slamo-lu's lawyer argued that,

...When my client's article is evaluated, it is seenthat [my] client has dealt with the 270-year period of "Westernism and theProcess of Westernization." A direct connection with Atatürk cannot be seen inthe topic of the piece. In the writing the criticism is of the political movementthat has the name Westernism and has its roots stretching from Ahmet III andDamad Ibrahim Pa-a...the piece is a whole...The word "Dictator" mentioned hasmore to do with a party dictatorship, than with a person...Many documents haveshown that the methods of administration of the Atatürk period could bequalified as a dictatorship, not a democracy. Even Atatürk himself personallyestablished this determination. On July 23, 1930, he himself confessed to FethiOkyar, one of the leading figures of the national struggle, that hisadministration was a dictatorship.[180][180]

Mr. -slamo-lu served a total of one year on bothcharges.

•On March 5,1998, Ayd-n Koral, the general publications director of the weeklySelamwas convicted of violating Article312.2 of the penal code for a May 16, 1997, article, "Secular MilitaristOligarchy and Jerusalem Occupier Zionism." Mr. Koral, was given twenty months,though the case is on appeal. Under the press law, the court closedSelamfor two weeks because of theconviction.[181][181]Koral's article spoke of the danger of increasing ties between Israel andTurkey.[182][182]

Prosecution of the Mainstream Press and Writers

Although the mainstream press hasthe greatest latitude to debate sensitive issues, it too faces state censure.Those prosecuted are usually columnists or other high-ranking journalists whohave the authority to write as they please-and thus the capacity to violatetaboos. Copy of low-level journalists, on the other hand, usually is filteredthrough editors, who often tone down or eliminate "problematic reporting."[183][183]Mainstream journalists who are charged are rarely detained during their trial.Often they are acquitted or given suspended sentences, as if the members of thecourt feel unease at condemning individuals whom they most likely read and,possibly, admire. At times, however, even mainstream journalists areimprisoned. At present, this is the exception, rather than the rule. Thefollowing four cases are illustrative of such prosecutions.

•On June 16,1998, Umur Talu, a columnist for the Istanbul dailyMilliyet,reporterZeliha Midilli, and their responsible editor, Eren Güvener, were acquitted oncharges of "insulting the court" (penal code Article 159) for critical articlesand columns about the "Manisa trial."[184][184]In a column titled, "Torture, Truncheon, and Pocket Telephone," Mr. Talucomplained that those on trial were found guilty despite the fact that littleevidence of the crime existed apart from testimony allegedly taken undertorture.[185][185]He commented that,"If the judiciary, in the trial of incident where torture hasbeen proven, is not going to question the files submitted to the court, what isthe use of hearings. Then, let the police stations give punishments. It's likethat most of the time anyway, but what I mean is let's make it official and bedone with it. So, this is what dependent judiciary is; in the sense of beingdependent on torture." Ms. Midilli was charged for an article she wrote in theJanuary 18, 1997, edition ofMilliyet,"Bu karar çok tart-lacak" ("This Verdict is Really Debatable.")

•After beinginterviewed by Nilgün Cerraho-lu in the "Intellectual Viewpoint" section of thedailyMilliyeton June 28, 1996,Çetin Altan, a left-wing intellectual and columnist in the dailySabah, was put on trial for "insultingthe state" under Article 159 of the penal code for the following statement: "Iwant the state to cease being a gang and base itself on the rule of law."[186][186]The journalist who conducted the interview, Ms. Cerraho-lu, and her responsibleeditor, Eren Güvener, were tried on the same charges. All were acquitted inJanuary 1997.

•On June 26,1996, Ali Bayramo-lu, columnist at the Istanbul dailyYeni Yüzy-l,and his responsible editor, -smet Berkan, wereacquitted on charges filed under Article 312 of the penal code for a column byMr. Bayramo-lu, "Why Was Ahmet Altan Sent Away?" ("Ahmet Altan NiçinGönderildi").[187][187]Mr. Bayramo-lu questioned the firing of the columnist Ahmet Altan by the dailyMilliyetafter Mr. Altan was chargedunder Article 312 for a column he wrote in the April 17, 1995, issue ofMilliyet, "Father Kurd."[188][188]Mr. Bayramo-lu told Human Rights Watch that, "I was acquitted. The prosecutorsaid, "Criticizing state policy is not the same as criticizing the state."[189][189]

•In January1997, Mete Göktürk, a prosecutor at the Istanbul State Security Court, wasarraigned under Article 159 for an October 14, 1996, article he wrote for thedailyYeni Yüzy-land an appearancehe made on the November 8, 1996, program of the political talk show, "SiyasetMeydan-." Mr. Göktürk complained that the Higher Council of Judges andProsecutors (Hâkimler ve Savc-lar YüksekKurulu-HSYK), which appoints judges and prosecutors and regulates theirprofessional life, was not independent from political manipulation.[190][190]In a decision to send the case to the High Court of Appeals for prosecution, alower court argued that Mr. Göktürk's statements, "did not comply with therequirements of his official title and could cause a false and denigratingunderstanding and interpretation of the moral personality of the JusticeMinistry and the Higher Council of Judges and Prosecutors..."[191][191]Mr. Göktürk was eventually acquitted of these charges.

Restrictions on Reporting the Conflict in SoutheasternTurkey


Since 1984, southeastern Turkey,largely inhabited by ethnic Kurds, has been the scene of armed conflict betweengovernment security forces and the PKK (Workers' Party of Kurdistan). Amilitant armed Kurdish group, the PKK has voiced explicit claims ranging fromcomplete independence to regional autonomy within Turkey. Although noindependently-confirmed figures exist, between 1984 and 1996 the governmentreported that 23,000 individuals had been killed in the conflict, including13,878 PKK members, 4,310 civilians, and 2,917 government soldiers. Since early1996, the fighting has reduced in intensity and moved to remote mountain areasor to Northern Iraq. The PKK, while weakened, still maintains the ability tooperate.

In July 1987, ten provinces in the region were placed underemergency rule because of an increase in fighting. This strict decree gavesecurity forces special powers, including the right to hold security detaineesin incommunicado detention for up to thirty days and to restrict the press. InJuly 1998, the parliament of Turkey approved a four-month extension of thestate of emergency in the following provinces: Diyarbak-r, Hakkari, Siirt,-irnak, Tunceli and Van.

The conflict has been characterized by severe human rightsabuses by both security forces and the PKK. In 1992, the government intensifieda counterinsurgency campaign against the PKK, forcibly evacuating and burningrural villages. The majority of the more than 2,500 villages and hamletsdepopulated in the region since 1984 are believed to be the result of thiscampaign. Credible estimates put the number of displaced at 560,000. The PKK inturn launched attacks against both security forces and villages that had joinedthe government civil-defense "village guard" program, killing village guardsand their families alike. The group also assassinated those suspected ofcooperating with the state, such as teachers, civil servants, and former PKKmembers. A wave of so-called "actor unknown murders" struck Kurdish-nationalistintellectuals and journalists as well as suspected PKK members, with the numberof such deaths rising to more than 1,200 between 1992 and 1995. Credibleevidence points to the fact that these "actor unknown murders" were carried outby groups operating with or under the connivance of security forces.[192][192]

With each new year of fighting, journalists faced increasingpressure from both the state and the PKK. A Diyarbak-r-based journalist workingat a mainstream daily for the past fourteen years, noted that, "There is aconflict, two sides are fighting with guns, with weapons. But there is apsychological side to the conflict. And that is important. They didn't wantjournalists to make objective reporting. Period. Both sides did it from time totime."[193][193]

Reporting conducted through 1990 could only be dreamed aboutin 1992. Stories filed from the region in 1992 were, for the most part,impossible to write three or four years later. The vigorous investigativejournalism of the late 1980s, such as reporting byCumhuriyet'sCelal Ba-lang-ç about an episode in which gendarmerietroops forced villagers to eat human excrement, is a journalistic relic.[194][194]A Diyarbak-r-based reporter for an Istanbul daily complained that, "From 1984to 1987, it was easy to work as a journalist. You basically went where youwanted and there were no problems. After the PKK attacks increased, there werelimits. After OHAL [State of Emergency Rule] was introduced in 1987, it becameeven harder to get information. After a while, 1990 or so, there was one sourceto get information, which was the emergency governor's office."[195][195]By the end of 1993, journalism, for the most part, was practiced in name only.

Three main reasons account for the collapse of journalism insoutheastern Turkey: political violence; restrictive laws; intimidation fromboth the state and the PKK.

As previously discussed, political violence claimed thelives of twenty-nine journalists in Turkey between 1992-95.[196][196]The majority were murdered in southeastern Turkey by shadowy "counter-guerilla"and "Hizbullah" deaths squads believed by many to be linked to, or toleratedby, security forces, though the PKK is believed to have murdered five. At theheight of the killings in early 1993, the weekly of theTurkish Daily Newsstated that, "It is evident, however, thatwithout a degree of local official cooperation, carrying out attacks againstthis newspaper or its staff would not be possible-not, at least, without anyculprits being caught."[197][197]Y-lmaz Odaba-, a journalist and writer, who worked in Diyarbak-r during theheight of the killings in 1992-93, stated that,

I was afraid. In 1993, I left Diyarbak-r because ofthis. Counter-guerillas were looking for me...I was in the office of thenewspaper. It was in 1993, around 5-6 p.m. I had two guns with me. Two men cameto my door. They said that they were from the Security Directorate. I call theSecurity Directorate, they said that they didn't send anybody. I didn't openthe door obviously. That is what prompted me to leave Diyarbak-r.[198][198]

The second impediment was legal. A number of long-standingprohibitions threatened journalists with imprisonment for writing criticalstories.[199][199]Furthermore, most of the provinces that comprise the ethnically Kurdish areasof southeastern Turkey had been placed under emergency rule since 1987.[200][200]The situation worsened in April 1990, when the Council of Ministers under thenPrime Minister Turgut Özal passed Decree 413, the so-called "Censor and ExileDecree" (Sansür ve Sürgün Kararnamesi).[201][201]Among other powers, Decree 413 and subsequent decrees that replaced it gave theEmergency Rule Governor the power to ban and confiscate publications and closethe printing houses. The decree threatened penalties against publications that,"wrongly represent incidents occurring in a region under a state of emergency,disturb[ing] its readers with distorted news stories or commentaries, caus[ing]anxiety among people in the region and obstruct[ing] security forces in theperformance of their jobs."[202][202]The decree had the effect of prior censorship: editors refused to run storiesthat they feared would lead to a closure of the paper and printing house.[203][203]Although in December 1990 and May 1991 the Constitutional Court ruled thatDecree 413 and its successors were unconstitutional, the decisions were notpublished in theOfficial Gazette-thusgiving them the force of law-until 1992.[204][204]

Finally, neither security authorities in the region nor thePKK trust journalists, and both sides try to use the press to its own ends.Police are extremely suspicious of reporters, whom they view as needlessmeddlers and troublemakers.[205][205]One Diyarbak-r-based journalist working for an Istanbul daily complained that,"No threats of late, but sometimes the security forces deal with us in a toughmanner. Sometimes they hit you, give you dirty looks. About twenty days ago, atthe airport, a policeman told me, ‘If this wasn't a public place I would showyou.'"[206][206]Another griped that, "I have been threatened by the police, film confiscated,beaten. The past couple of years, no beating. But this year, last year, theytook our film. The reason was that we had met with the PKK. But the real reasonwas that they wanted to get pictures of the PKK."[207][207]The editor of the Turkish-Kurdish bilingual weeklyHêvi, stated that,

We have an office in Diyarbak-r, but outside ofDiyarbak-r we do not have an office because of pressure from the authorities.We have reporters, but they can't show their press cards that we issue them.That will bring even more harassment from the police. When they see it they saywe are terrorists.[208][208]

When detained, journalists areoften mistreated by the police.

The PKK has mirrored the repressive attitude towardjournalists displayed by state authorities. According to the French groupReporters sans Frontieres, "The PKK has always had a hostile attitude towardthe mainstream press and private television stations because of the belief thatthey spy for military or intelligence organizations."[209][209]In October 1993, the PKK ordered all the Diyarbak-r-based bureau chiefs of themainstream dailies to gather at a camp outside of Diyarbak-r and ordered themto cease operations because of their "biased and one-sided reporting... whichfavored state forces and acted like the henchmen of the...Emergency RuleGovernor."[210][210]If their offices remained open, the PKK warned that the journalists wouldbecame "revolutionary targets."[211][211]With few exceptions, almost all the papers closed their bureaus until mid-1994.[212][212]

The PKK has also threatened journalists who wroteunfavorably about their struggle. One journalist based in Diyarbak-r for anIstanbul daily reported that,

There are threats from both sides. When you go to thePKK side and try to interview them, they say, "You are not writing the truth."I wrote one story. The PKK didn't like it so they threatened me. In the end,nothing happened. Even though we are Kurds, we work at mainstream papers andthey do not trust us.[213][213]

Another ethnic-Kurdish journalist who reported from thesoutheast stated that,

I wrote an article once criticizing Öcalan for hisinflated statements and the cult of personality around him. After this articlewas published, two or three young guys came to me. They pushed me against thewall and said, "If you are not careful with your pen we will destroy you." Theywere PKK, no doubt, but I don't know for sure if the PKK officially sent them.Once before I was threatened by the PKK. I wrote an article which was criticalof certain aspects of their violence. Shortly thereafter I received a call froma PKK member who told me, "If you continue to do ‘reformism' you should leaveDiyarbak-r." It's funny, because when the PKK was threatening me, the deathsquads were threatening me, too.[214][214]

The PKK also has conducted a policy of kidnappingjournalists who do not acquire "press credentials" from the ERNK, the politicalwing of the PKK. Since 1994, five journalists have been kidnapped; two wereheld for three months.[215][215]The kidnapping of journalists, like that of foreign tourists, serves as apropaganda stunt to show that the ARGK, the military wing of the PKK, canoperate in the southeast. As one local journalist explained:

Some journalists have been kidnapped and taken to themountains at a PKK roadblock. Journalists have to get permission from the ERNK.They kidnap the journalist to make propaganda, say that we control the region,then they try to protect them from getting killed until the journalist isreleased.[216][216]

The ARGK's ability to kidnap journalist has been reducedalong with their diminished military capacity in the region. The lastkidnapping occurred on April 30, 1995, when Ferit Demir, a freelance journalistin Tunceli province, was held by the PKK for a little over a week . Theprevious kidnapping took place in March 1995, when an ARGK unit held AFPjournalist Kadri Gürsel and Reuters photographer Fati Sar-ba- for twenty-sixdays.[217][217]

The Present Situation

Present reporting on thefourteen-year conflict in southeastern Turkey is sketchy, at best. Despite thefact that almost all the major Turkish dailies have offices in Diyarbak-r, mostdaily reporting now consists of republishing statements on PKK casualtiesissued by the Office of the Emergency Rule Governor.[218][218]When more detailed stories are written, they often deal with non-controversialtopics, such as an article about the grand opening of a tennis court in Tunceliprovince, a scene of heavy fighting and wide scale displacement.[219][219]Stories that attempt to deal with more sensitive topics often skirt delicateissues: an article on the displaced states that they left their homes "becauseof terror" without any further examination of that issue.[220][220]

The military has also begun to organize press tours, butthis effort is aimed more at public relations than at facilitating goodjournalism. Oktay Ek-i, head of the Press Council of Turkey and chief columnistatHürriyet, summed up the presentsituation as follows: "You learn something by chance in the southeast. Youlearn only what the government allows you to learn. That region is in darkness.Unfortunately, you can't see the real facts in the southeast...The cost is veryhigh."[221][221]

From time to time, however, journalists do manage to travelto the region to conduct independent reporting, and columnists sometimes writeunvarnished accounts of the strife, based on first-hand information.[222][222]Two stories byCumhuriyetcorrespondent Celal Y-lmaz on alleged abuses by Special Team members in theVarto district of Bingöl province provide an example of good reporting undertough circumstances. His reporting is based on multiple sources and oneyewitness testimony and seeks to verify independently statements given bystate officials. In one of his columns inCumhuriyet,Hikmet Çetinkaya quotes at length the parents of a young man, MazlumMansuro-lu, who was allegedly detained and murdered by security forces inTunceli province. In addition, parliamentarians will sometimes travel to theregion to investigate the situation, and the journalists who accompany themwill report their often critical findings unfiltered. Such reporting iscertainly the exception, not the rule.

Lack of access to the region-especially to scenes offighting in rural areas-was the major complaint of Diyarbak-r-basedjournalists. Over time, the area in which journalists can move freely has beenreduced to Diyarbak-r and certain provincial capitals in the region. Ruralareas have largely become a no-go zone. No journalist, foreign or Turkish, hasbeen able to enter Northern Iraq since 1996 save for an occasional press poolorganized and guided by the Turkish Army. In February 1997, theNew York TimesIstanbul bureau chief wasdetained by security forces for a day near a village in Batman province andinterrogated.[223][223]A journalist working in the Diyarbak-r office of a Istanbul daily noted that,

The regional governor sends us a fax, we accept it andwrite the news to the newspaper. For example, there is a fax that says that onCudi mountain 150 PKK were killed. We don't have the possibility to go thereand investigate. To see bodies, to find out details about the clash, where ithappened, where are the bodies. Local people don't believe it, but the Turkishpeople out of the region do. If we don't write the story based on these faxes,then the Anatolian News Agency sends out the story and our editors complain tous why we didn't write the story.[224][224]

Another journalist working in Diyarbak-r for a mainstreamdaily had similar problems:

Sometimes you could follow the village evacuations.You went to a village. [Now] it is impossible to go to the scene of an armedclash or the scene of an incident...[you can go] only if the regional governorgives you his permission. You end up with an organized trip...So, for example,if I wanted to go to Lice, I would get sent back at the first checkpoint. Itried to go to Tunceli yesterday. I was "given" a policeman and he followed methe entire time. It is difficult to be a journalist on your own. At the borderto Tunceli province, they [the authorities] take your press card and give you apoliceman.[225][225]

The Confiscation of Publications and Books and the Closingof Newspapers[226][226]

Both the constitution and the PressLaw give prosecutors the power to stop distribution of a publication withoutpreviously obtaining a court order.[227][227]A judge, however, must ratify the prosecutor's action within forty-eight hoursor it becomes invalid. A judge may also confiscate a publication for reasons ofnational security or if a criminal investigation has been opened against it.[228][228]Acts triggering confiscation are broadly defined as threats to "the internal orexternal security of the state... which tend to incite offense, riot orinsurrection." Under the 1961 constitution, in contrast, prosecutors did nothave the power to confiscate publications. Law No. 1488, passed five monthsafter the March 1971 coup, however, amended the constitution to giveprosecutors that power. This change was carried over into the 1982 constitution.

Periodicals may be temporarily closed by a court order ifthe writers at the publication have been convicted of certain crimes, such asthreatening the unity of the state.[229][229]In addition, publications that are deemed a continuation of banned publicationsare forbidden. Additional Article 2.2 of the 1950 Press Law (No. 7564) sets thetemporary period of closure from three days to one month.[230][230]In 1983, shortly before the military relinquished power to a civiliangovernment, the press law was amended to include Article 2.2.[231][231]

Prosecutors primarily, though not exclusively, targetfar-left and Kurdish-nationalist publications-especially those whose editorialpolicy sympathizes with armed groups, such as the PKK or the armedextremist-left group Dev-Sol. In 1996, the French media watch-dog groupReporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) reported that on twenty-nine differentoccasions twenty newspapers or other periodicals were suspended from publishingfor varying periods of time.[232][232]In addition, fifty-three daily, weekly, or monthly periodicals facedconfiscation 201 times in 1996.[233][233]In 1997, RSF reported the following figures: on thirty-four different occasionsthirty-one publications were suspended from publishing for varying periods oftime; thirty-three daily, weekly, or monthly periodicals faced confiscationseventy-eight times.[234][234]

Confiscation and closure cases include the following:

•On August 16,1995, the fifth Istanbul Penal Court closed down the Kurdish-nationalist dailyYeni Politikaunder Article 2.2 of thepress law because it was deemed to be a continuation of its banned predecessor,Özgür Ülke.That newspaper had beenclosed under the same law in February 1995.

•On May 9,1996, the now defunct, left-wing dailyEvrenselwas suspended from publishing for seventy-five days by order of the IstanbulState Security Court; the paper was deemed to have violated Article 312 of thepenal code, which prohibits incitement of hatred based on ethnicity, religion,race, or confession, because of an interview with an army officer who allegedthat he had carried out reprisals in southeastern Turkey

•On February17, 1997, the mainstream-liberal dailyRadikalwas confiscated by order of a prosecutor. Its offense was to republish anIslamist critique of the role of Atatürk that appeared on February 15 in themainstream French publication,Le FigaroMagazine. The article was deemed to violate a 1951 law protecting thelegacy of Atatürk.

•On September8, 1997, Istanbul State Security Court No. 2 banned the publication of CelalAlî Bedirxan's 1934 workOn the KurdishQuestion (Kürt Sorunu Üzerine)by a small, independent Kurdish publisher,Avesta.[235][235]

•On May 8,1998, the High Court of Appeals confirmed a ten-day closure of the Kurdish-nationalist daily,Ülkede Gündem.Thepaper was closed because of an August 4, 1997, article by the chairman of thenow-banned Kurdish nationalist Democracy Party titled, "The Tragedy of Dersim."The court ruled that the article violated Article 312 of the penal code.[236][236]

Even overtly non-political works can, at times, run afoul ofthe authorities. Emre Y-lmaz's wry, inside look at Istanbul high-finance andbig business,A Young Businessman (Gençbir -adam-), was temporarily banned in 1996 on morals charges.[237][237]


Self-censorship is a fact of life in Turkey, whether onespeaks of the mainstream press or of Kurdish-nationalist publicationssympathetic to the PKK. In the case of the mainstream press, self-censorship ismotivated by two main factors: fear of prosecution and an internalizeddeference to state authority on the part of the editors. In the case of theKurdish-nationalist press, self-censorship manifests itself as fealty-eitherimposed or voluntary-to a purported higher political cause.

In the Mainstream Press

Self-censorship is imposed whenwriting on a number of sensitive topics, such as the proper role of themilitary, political Islam, the conflict in southeastern Turkey, the Kurdishminority, and the events surrounding the 1915 expulsion from eastern Turkey andsubsequent massacre of large numbers of ethnic Armenians by the Ottomangovernment.[239][239]Self-censorship is largely a function of the overall climate: there is lessduring more liberal periods and more when outside restrictions are tightened.Some top-level columnists told Human Rights Watch that they never resorted toself-censorship, while others said they did. Self-censorship operates on atleast two different levels: by journalists and by columnists when they writethe actual piece; and, later, by editors.

Many journalists reported that-at the very least-they werecognizant of the boundaries and of how far these boundaries might be pushedwithout evoking a legal response. Ahmet Altan, a popular novelist and columnistfor the dailyYeni Yüzy-l,statedthat, "Among the administration of the press, there is self-censorship. Amongthe writers, it depends." Younger, lesser known journalists appear acutelyaware of limitations and the need to pay fealty to them. A Diyarbak-r-basedcorrespondent for a mainstream daily complained that, "Some practiceself-censorship, others do not. I try not to. If something happens, I write astory. But I don't write a story if I am sure that it will not be published."[240][240]An Istanbul-based journalist working at a mainstream daily reported that,"There are a lot of young journalists who want to reveal facts, but the editorstell them, ‘Don't bring me news like this."[241][241]

Some older, more popular columnists, on the other hand, areless easily intimidated. Oktay Ek-i, the chief columnist for the mainstreamdailyHürriyet, stated that, "Ipersonally have the right to write what I want."

Other high-ranking, popular columnists disagree, whileadmitting that they have a large degree of latitude. Oral Çal-lar, a columnistat the Istanbul dailyCumhuriyet,complainedthat,

We journalists think about whether we will get intotrouble if we criticize things like drug dealing connected with the war.Especially if it is aimed at a high level...I write everyday, and I am beingcareful not to commit a crime. If I were to write completely freely, I couldhave a court case against me...But I am one of the people who has the fewestlimits. Even though I am not afraid of violating them, it is a factor.[242][242]

Koray Düzgören, a former columnist at the dailyRadikaland long-time journalist, notedthat, "Even me personally, I question myself. If I timidly support what Ibelieve in [because of the need for self-censorship], I pull my article.[243][243]

A second level of self-censorship is imposed by editors, whoact as a filter to screen out stories that may cause problems. Often they serveas conduits for the interestsof newspaper owners.[244][244]Mr. Düzgören commented that: "The main from ourselves and oureditors. In many cases, if people took a stand, the state would not care."[245][245]A young journalist who worked at the dailyYeniYüzy-ldescribed the dilemma in which editors found themselves when theywanted to adopt a more critical tone:

For example, I worked atYeni Yüzy-lfor about a year, directly after it startedpublication. It started as a good paper and really took on sensitive issues,like the Kurdish question. But soon the editors working there began to haveconflicted feelings. They wanted to be more sensitive, but they started not towant to write such critical things. To write news about torture means that youcriticize the state, which means that you are a leftist. The stories theeditor-in-chief rejected would be given to the news editor, who would try topublish it. He would publish it, but then he got in trouble and the practicestopped.[246][246]

Often the pressure comes from editors indirectly, in theform of suggestions or hints. A well-known columnist at an Istanbul dailyreported velvet-gloved pressure from his editor in an effort to force him tostop writing about the now-banned Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party:

Up to six months ago [April 1997] I could do all Iwanted, then I had to start to limit myself. That didn't happen with directwarnings, but I am in close contact with my executives. Not a censorshipmechanism but an "autocensorship" mechanism. For example, when Refah was inpower my editors wanted me to stop writing about them. I was trying to writeabout them objectively.[247][247]

In the Kurdish-Nationalist Press

Self-censorship also affects"pro-Kurdish" or "Kurdish-nationalist" newspapers and publications. As oneethnic Kurdish observer commented, "The status of the Kurdish establishment andthe Turkish establishment are largely the same: self-limiting and censoring.Whatever is going on in the Turkish circles is going on in the Kurdish circles."[248][248]Usually, the self-censorship comes in the form of suppressing news orinformation that is critical of a Kurdish political faction, usually the PKK. Ayoung, liberal journalist working at a mainstream paper commented that,

There is no difference betweenSabah, Hürriyet, andGündemin the following respect. Each paper has the right to make news according toits political beliefs and editorial policy. The news that they report and theway that they report it are different. In the first days ofÖzgür Gündemthey wrote, "Our sidecaptured a Jandarma station." We know where they are coming from. They aresupporting an organization through their thoughts. It is their legal right.Hürriyetdoes the same, but they do notpay a price [to the state]. As a result of not paying the price ofself-censorship to one side, they pay the price of self-censorship to the otherside. Mainstream papers have self-censorship.[249][249]

Two journalists working atÜlkede Gündem,a daily pro-Kurdish newspaper published inIstanbul, differed on whether self-censorship existed: one admitted to HumanRights Watch that it did exist, while the other denied such allegationsoutright.[250][250]

The PKK's intolerant attitude toward dissident voices hasfostered self-censorship among Kurdish intellectuals and Kurdish publications.One observer of the Kurdish question in Turkey complained that, "Last year Iwent to Germany for a conference of Kurdish intellectuals. They face a majorproblem: speaking about their own matters and problems without having to mentionthe PKK. In private they are open and critical, but in public different. Thesituation is worse in journals that are sympathetic to the PKK."[251][251]

A Kurdish intellectual who has been jailed by the state forwriting about the conflict in the southeast and about Turkey's Kurds, lamentedthat,

In order to end the official ideology, they [the PKK]have become an official ideology that is closed to debate. In what I write Icriticize their making arbitrary attacks, placing bombs in buses, takinghostages, killing village guard (korucu)families and children. In fighting between the donkey and the horse, thechickens get trampled...I really felt this pain as a Kurdish intellectual wholived there for many years. It is sad that the PKK has absolutely no tolerance fora critical approach. The Kurds cannot be a unitary entity because the PKK isagainst so many Kurdish intellectuals. The PKK calls Kemal Burkay a traitor.They call the party of Serafettin Elçi a "korucu" party. The PKK has left nochoice to Kurdish intellectuals but to applaud them. It reminds me of a line byBaudelier: "The wound is ours, the knife is ours, the victim is ours, theassassin is ours." We grew up in a semi-feudal environment. The state hasdespotic tendencies. I don't want A-iret [tribal] authority, I don't want PKKauthority, I don't want state authority.[252][252]

Ahmet Altan, the writer and columnist, summed up the dilemmaof Kurdish intellectuals:

There is self-censorship in the Kurdish press. Thishappens both to Kurdish intellectuals and Turkish intellectuals. We should seethat they face difficulties themselves. I do not do that, I write the way Ilike. But, both Kurdish and Turkish intellectuals limit themselves, censorthemselves. But the situation is different. They fire me, they sue me. Whenthey fire me, I become some sort of a hero among those who choose to limitthemselves. I am not left alone, I receive respect. When I dare to dispute mypolitical authority, I become a"hero." When a Kurdish intellectualchallenges his political authority he becomes a"traitor." You become atraitor against the Turkish state and also against the PKK. The Turkishintellectuals are also afraid of being declared a traitor by people of theirside. But when we criticize our political authority we become respected by ourfriends. When they criticize their political authority they commit treason. Atthis point, it is impossible to understand the Turkish state. The Turkish chiefof staff and PKK reinforce each other.[253][253]


International Legal Protections

International law protects therights of persons to assert their membership in an ethnic minority and toexpress themselves in the minority's traditional language. The U.N. Declarationon the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious andLinguistic Minorities, in particular, requires states to ensure that members ofminorities "have adequate opportunities to learn their mother tongue,"explaining that such persons have "the right... to use their ownlanguage, in private and in public, freely without interference or any form ofdiscrimination."[254][254]Although the declaration lacks the binding legal force of a treaty, itconstitutes an authoritative explication of existing treaty norms protectingthe rights to free expression and non-discrimination.

A similar concern for protecting minority-language speakersfrom discrimination on the basis of language is found in the EuropeanConvention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which barssuch discrimination with regard to all of the rights within its purvey,including the right to free expression.[255][255]Although the European Court on several occasions rejected the claim thatlanguage rights include the right to use the language of one's choice incommunicating with public authorities, it has struck down burdens based solelyon "considerations relating to language" in a decision involvingFrench-speaking residents of the Flemish community who wanted their children toattend French-language schools.[256][256]In other words, the court has been reluctant to impose positive obligations onstates to accommodate the linguistic preferences of their citizens, but has atthe same time recognized the state obligation not to interfere in citizens' useof their language.[257][257]Consequently, legal obstacles in Turkey that prevent individuals fromadministering private language courses in Kurdish or a private Kurdish-languagetelevision station would violate the intent of such rulings.

The U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination andProtection of Minorities, whose mandate specifically includes the protection oflinguistic minorities, has been even more active in support of language rights.In a landmark 1979 study, the sub-commission praised the efforts of numerousstates that had taken steps to facilitate the use of minority languages in avariety of contexts, including in communications with state authorities.[258][258]It has also shown that it regards the repression of linguistic minorities to bea serious breach of international law, passing a 1993 resolution condemningYugoslavia for banning in Kosovo "the use of the Albanian language, notablywithin the public administration and services."[259][259]

International legal protections on language, as well as theconcern shown by numerous international bodies on the topic, reflect thecentral place of language in ethnic and cultural identity. Language is commonlytaken as a prime indicator of the individual's group identification; for thisreason, language repression has almost always played a role in policies ofgroup domination and forced assimilation.

Prohibitions Against the Use of Kurdish and LanguagesOther than Turkish

At present, the use of languagesother than Turkish in education, politics and the broadcast media is-withcertain exceptions-prohibited.[260][260]Article 3 of the constitution declares Turkish to be the official language,while Article 42.9 goes further by stating that, "Aside from Turkish, no otherlanguage shall be studied by or taught to Turkish citizens as a mother tonguein any language, teaching, or learning institution."[261][261]While these strictures are, in theory, directed against all of the languagesspoken by the different ethnic groups that live in Turkey, whether Circassiansor Laz, the main targets are Kurds and Kurdish.

No official data exist concerning the size of ethnicminorities in Turkey since the early 1960s.[262][262]Despite the absence of exact data, however, it is clear that Kurds are thesecond largest ethnic group in Turkey after Turks, and Kurdish is the secondmost widely spoken language after Turkish. The absence of such data onethnicity stems from the fact that the state has not asked questions regardingethnicity or religion during census polling.[263][263]In addition, ethnicity is a rather fluid concept in Turkey.[264][264]

State-dictated rigidity concerning language and identity isthe result of an attempt to build a modern nation-state based on a secularTurkish national identity and the Turkish language.[265][265]That process began in 1923, when Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk, proclaimed theRepublic of Turkey from what remained of the non-Arab lands of the formerOttoman Empire.[266][266]Traumatized by the slow collapse of the multi-ethnic Ottoman empire, a demiseaccelerated by the nationalism of the Sultan's Christian subjects and the meddlingof the great powers, the new state countered with its own brand of nationalism:"In the circumstances, the need for self-assertion among the Turkish, Sunnimajority following the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the struggle to freeTurkey from occupying powers proved paramount."[267][267]

Consequently, the many different ethnic groups living in thenewly-founded Republic of Turkey were to be subsumed voluntarily or by forceinto a new Turkish national and linguistic identity that, while open to all,would broach no competitors.[268][268]For the founders of the new Turkish Republic, the Treaty of Lausanne once andfor all ended the "minorities question" by dividing the population into threenon-Muslim minorities enjoying minority rights and a Muslim-soon to be Turkish-majority.[269][269]One scholar has noted that,

Soon after the establishment of the Republic ofTurkey, its government embarked upon a radical program of nation-building.Ethnic diversity was perceived as a danger to the integrity of the state, andthe Kurds, as the largest non-Turkish ethnic group, obviously constituted themost serious threat. They were decreed to be Turks, and their language andculture were to be Turkish. All external symbols of their ethnic identity weresuppressed...There was no official discrimination against those Kurds whoagreed to be assimilated: they could reach the highest positions in the stateapparatus. Those who refused, however, often met with severe repression.[270][270]

The use of Kurdish-along with other languages-was prohibitedin teaching as was its public use.[271][271]By 1930, publishing in languages otherthan Turkish was prohibited by an act of parliament that was heralded under theslogan of "Citizen, Speak Turkish!" (Vatanda-,Türkçe Konu-!).[272][272]The Kurdish names of towns and villages in southeastern Turkey were alsochanged to Turkish.[273][273]

In time, the architects of the new Turkish nation-statebegan to deny outright the existence of other ethnicities, especially Kurds,and attempted to create murky Turkish genealogies for them.[274][274]Visions of a new civic nationalism based on social traits transmitted byeducation rather than on "consanguinity"degenerated into a rigidethno-nationalism.[275][275]While there was no outright discrimination based on ethnicity, the linesbetween Turkish ethnicity and nationality began to be blurred beyonddistinction.[276][276]A leading analyst of Turkey writes that, "The Kurds were relegated to thestatus of ‘mountain Turks.' The denial of identity went to absurd lengths. Incase a Turkish soldier should hear the word Kurd mentioned while on duty in thesoutheast, his service handbook informed him that this was a nickname born ofthe ‘kürt, kürt' sound made when crunching through the ‘mountain Turkish'snow."[277][277]

Blanket denial of ethnic identity-a reaction to thereemergence in the 1960s and 1970s of public expressions of Kurdish ethnicidentity-reached a high point after the military coup of 1980. A month beforethe military relinquished power in the elections of November 1983, Law No.2932, "The Law Concerning Publications and Broadcasts in Languages Other ThanTurkish," was passed. It declared that "The mother tongue of all Turkishcitizens is Turkish " and, defying anthropology, forbade the use of anylanguage but Turkish "as a mother tongue." It also prohibited all publishing inKurdish.

Today, the situation concerning ethnic identity and languageuse has improved compared with the past. The late President Turgut Özal,himself of partial Kurdish origin, did much to break down the taboos concerningKurds. In 1991, he successfully pushed to lift Law No. 2932 to permitpublishing in Kurdish. The collapse of the USSR, which allowed the non-Kurdishethnic minorities of Turkey such as Chechens and Circassians to reestablishlinks with relatives in the former Soviet Union, also helped break down theofficial doctrine of monoethnicity.[278][278]Kurds now speak their native tongue throughout the country without theineffective and absurd legal prohibitions of Law No. 2932, and Kurdish musicand videos are widely available and played openly, including in the conflictregion in southeastern Turkey.[279][279]The so-called "Kurdish question" is discussed in the press, and in July 1995,for the first time, a survey was conducted among Kurds regarding theirattitudes toward the PKK and an independent Kurdish state.[280][280]In 1994 and 1995, the leader of the New Democracy Movement(YDH), Cem Boyner, made full cultural and linguistic rights forKurds a major part of his platform. Finally, some limited radio broadcasting inKurdish, although still prohibited by law, is taking place, and there appear tobe plans to allow some sort of Kurdish-language television.

Despite these improvements, serious problems remain. Theconstitution, Political Parties Law, the Law Concerning the Founding andBroadcasts of Television and Radio, the Foreign Language Education and TeachingLaw, and the Law Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and VoterRegistries Provincial Administration Law, all prohibit or restrict with certainexceptions the use of languages other than Turkish. Political parties are stillbanned for "creating minorities" if they demand linguistic and cultural rightsfor Kurds. A recent attempt by a private foundation to teach Kurdish ranhead-first into a legal brick wall. Broadcasting in Kurdish and othernon-Turkish languages spoken as a mother tongue by citizens of Turkey is stillprohibited by law. While publishing in Kurdish and other languages is legallyunrestricted, the constitutional basis for such prohibitions remains.

-efik Beyaz, the head of the unregistered Kurdish Institute,joked that, "The authorities will not allow us to have a sign that says KurdishInstitute or to register as such, but when the police call they say, ‘Is thisthe Kurdish Institute?"[281][281]-eraffettin Elçi, an ethnic Kurd and former public works minister, summed upthe situation by stating that,

When I was a minister and said in public I was a Kurd,the whole society was shaken. It was treated as a manifesto. The whole statewas in turmoil, and I was punished under Article 142. Now when someone says heis a Kurd there is no reaction. Things have changed, but this doesn't mean that"Kurdishness" has a legal status.[282][282]

In Education

Under Article 42.9 of theconstitution, Turkish is the official-though not exclusive-language ofinstruction.[283][283]In fact, the country's two most elite universities, the Middle East TechnicalUniversity (ODTÜ) and Bosphorous University (Bo-aziçi), use English as thelanguage of instruction; the most elite high school, Galatasary Lisesi, usesFrench. Article 2a of Law No. 2923, the Foreign Language Education and TeachingLaw, passed in October 1983, regulates the teaching of foreign languages,"taking into consideration the view of the National Security Council." Inshort, the National Security Council per decree decides which foreign languagesmay be taught in Turkey. At present, the following foreign languages can betaught in public and private learning institutions: English, French, German,Russian, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese.[284][284]

Consequently, state officials have blocked efforts toprovide Kurdish-language instruction. While education in Kurdish takes place ininformal settings and through tutors, such actions are, strictly speaking,illegal. A legally-registered foundation, however, the Kurdish Cultural andResearch Foundation (Kürt-Kav), has been fighting a two-year battle to provideKurdish language instruction at its headquarters in Istanbul. The foundation isthe first organization in Turkey to have the legal right to use the term"Kurdish" in its title.[285][285]Y-lmaz Çaml-bel, the chairman of Kürt-Kav, complained that,

In August 1996, we applied to the Istanbul Governor's officeto teach courses in Kurdish. This request was forwarded to the EducationMinistry, which requested us to bring various documents. On March 20, 1997, wewere denied the right to teach Kurdish courses under the Foreign LanguageEducation and Teaching Law No. 2923.[286][286]

The Ministry of Education defendedits decision by citing Law No. 2923: "In the Council of Minister's decisionnumber 92/2783 published in the Official Gazette no. 21177 of 20.03.92, thelanguages of instruction and education in official and private courses inTurkey have been determined to be English, French, German, Russian, Italian,Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Turkish. Because of this, the opening of coursesoutside of those listed is not possible because of the present body of law inforce."[287][287]

As a result of the ruling, in June 1997, police sealed thefloor of the foundation where the classes were to be held. A case was opened atthe request of the Ministry of Education against Mr. Çaml-bel and his aide,Mehmet Celal Baykara, for "opening a course illegally." In May 1998, the courtacquitted both men of the charge, but ruled that the foundation could not holdKurdish language courses.[288][288]

For its part, Kürt-Kav appealed the Ministry of Education'sdecision, but an administrative court rejected its claim on November 12, 1997.The foundation has subsequently filed an appeal with a higher court, where thecase is now pending.

Efforts to teach Turkish in rural areas where ethnic Kurdspredominate have had mixed results. In a recent interview, Dr. Salih Y-ld-r-m,the state minister responsible for southeastern Turkey, stated that one-thirdof those living in the region did not speak Turkish, a figure that rose to 50percent among women.[289][289]In practical terms, the inability to communicate often causes problems whendealing with state authorities, especially in attempts to access services likehealth care.[290][290]The inability to speak Turkish among rural Kurds is a legacy ofunderdevelopment and poverty, traditional family structure, and, more recently,the conflict in the region. The PKK has a policy of assassinating teachers,while many schools have been abandoned as a result of the government'scounterinsurgency campaign.

Some argue that restrictions on the "teaching of a mothertongue" other than Turkish should be removed and that private instruction inKurdish should be allowed. Professor Bülent Tanör, a constitutional scholar atIstanbul University, stated that,

In Turkey it is okay to have Turkish as the officiallanguage. But what the mother tongue is is a different matter. This raises twoproblems. Kurdish education in the state system and outside the state system.There are foundations outside the state system, like Kurt-Kav, but they faceproblems. These problems could be solved.[291][291]

In a study on democratization for the Turkish Industrialistsand Businessmens' Association (TÜS-AD), Mr. Tanör wrote that,

The...Foreign Language Education and Teaching Law...isvery strange: "The mother tongue of the Turkish citizens cannot be taught inany language other than Turkish (2923-14.10.1983 Article 2/a)." The element ofstrangeness is...[that] according to the meaning of the sentence, it is possiblefor a Turkish citizen to have a mother tongue other than Turkish, but thatmother tongue can be taught only in Turkish...the last paragraph of Article 42of the constitution which rejects a natural and social phenomenon as the"mother tongue" and treats it as an official language is disturbing, evenoffensive. There is absolutely no need for this. The state, the constitution,and the laws have the right to decree that the official language be taught asthe primary and mandatory language in all schools. But the expression of thisshould in no way be like the one in the stated provisions...It is also usefulto mention...the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Turkey hasratified with reservations. [It] states that...States...agree that the educationof the child shall be directed to...development of respect for the child'sparents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values...[292][292]

For their part, a majority of ethnic Kurds polled wanted theright to decide what the language of instruction should be for their children.[293][293]

In Politics

Prohibitions concerning the use ofminority languages-together with general restrictions concerning the discussionof minorities-extend to politics. The use of languages other than Turkish inpolitical campaigns is forbidden by law. Additionally, a general prohibitionexists against parties that claim that there are minorities based, "onnational, religious, confessional, racial, or language differences." Whilethese restrictions do not specify Kurds or the use of Kurdish, they are, defacto, the main target. Article 81 of the 1983 Political Parties Law (No.2820), "Preventing the Creation of Minorities," states that,

Political parties:

a)cannot putforward that minorities based on national, religious, confessional, racial, orlanguage differences exist in the Republic of Turkey.

b)cannotadvocate the goal of destroying national unity or be engaged in activities tothis end; by means of protecting, developing, or disseminating language orcultures other than the Turkish language and culture and thus create minoritiesin the Republic of Turkey.

c)cannot use alanguage other than Turkish in writing and printing party statutes or programs,at congresses, indoors or outside; at demonstrations, and in propaganda; cannotuse or distribute placards, pictures, phonograph records, voice and visualtapes, brochures and statements written in a language other than Turkish;cannot remain indifferent to these actions and acts committed by others.However, it is possible to translate party statutes and programs into foreignlanguages other than those forbidden by law.[294][294]

The election law reinforces theprohibition on the use of languages other than Turkish. Article 58 states that,"...It is forbidden to use any other language or script than Turkish inpropaganda disseminated in radio or television as well as in other electionpropaganda."[295][295]

Article 81 of the Political PartiesLaw and associated legislation has hindered discussion of the Kurdish questionin the political arena and has led to the banning of several non-violentpolitical parties that advocated increased cultural or linguistic rights forethnic Kurds.[296][296]In the 1991 general elections, one of the banned parties, the People's LaborParty (HEP), won twenty-two seats in parliament.[297][297]A leading constitutional scholar commented that,

As a legal scholar, the main point in the Kurdishquestion is to remove Article 81 from the Political Parties Law. Partiesadvocating Kurdish identity should be allowed to operate. This will providesome breathing space to Turkish politics and make the Kurds more part of theTurkish establishment. The biggest obstacle to achieving this is chauvinism andfear. If you can get rid of Article 81, you can get a breath of fresh air. Evenif Article 81 is lifted, there will still be other actions that forbidseparatist activity that are based in international law.[298][298]

Presently, the Democratic Mass Party(Demokrat Kitle Partisi-DKP) of -eraffettin Elçi faces closureunder Article 81 of the Political Parties Law and associated legislation.[299][299]The DKP advocates cultural and linguistic rights for all minorities and thedecentralization of administration within Turkey's present borders.[300][300]In June 1997, the state prosecutor filed a seventy-three page indictment withthe Constitutional Court to close the DKP and ban Mr. Elçi from politics forfive years because of the party's program and various press statements made byMr. Elçi.

The state prosecutor cited the statements below as reasonsto close the party:

•"As aparticipatory, liberal, and democratic mass party that, together with solvingall the country's problems, places a peaceful and democratic solution of theKurdish question at the center of its program, the Democratic Mass Partystrives to restructure the state and institute a democracy in the country withall its rules and institutions...Kurds, like Turks, are a fundamental elementof this country. Within Turkey's unity and political borders...they want tolive in peace and brotherhood...It is impossible to solve the Kurdish questionby resorting to violence or repression" (Party Program).[301][301]

•"We usedemocratic and peaceful methods. As the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKKentered political life; we do not approve of their actions" (Statement toCumhuriyet,Istanbul daily).[302][302]

•"...We saythat injustices done to the Kurds must be rectified. As the President stated in1992, ‘the Kurdish reality' must be recognized. It must be recognized and legalprotection must be given to the fact that Kurds are also a fundamental element inthis society" (Interview with -ahin Alpay,Milliyet).[303][303]

The indictment against the DKP shows both the progressTurkey has made in acknowledging the existence of minorities as well as thegreat distance the country must still travel to make that recognition a workingand meaningful proposition. The prosecutor does not argue that Kurds or otherminorities do not exist. On the contrary, he states that such groups actuallyenrich society as a whole as long as they keep their activities at the level ofthe individual, and not demand group rights. The prosecutor argues that,

The State is neutral and disinterested regarding theorigins of individuals' lineages. There is no obstacle against anyone,including those of Kurdish ethnicity, from expressing his own identity. Infact, cultural identities and differences are elements that enrich a commonculture based on social solidarity, experiences, honored judgements, unity (birliktelik), social life and a commonpast. In that respect, Article 81 of the Political Parties Law does not forbidindividuals that constitute the [Turkish] nation from expressing differentlanguages and cultures and ethnic differences.However, the necessary point that must be stressed and pointed out isthat expressing identities must be done without claiming that one is a memberof a minority or a member of a nation and within the spirit and knowledge thatone is a member of the egalitarian and unifying wholeness of the Turkish Nationand its totality.There are no prohibited languages in Turkey today. Asidefrom public (kamusal) affairs, everycitizen can use the language of his choice in private life, for example books,newspapers, journals, and music cassettes can be produced in the Kurdishlanguage.[304][304]

The election law prohibits the use of "languages" other thanTurkish, which in effect targets Kurdish. Article 58 of theLaw Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and VoterRegistriesstates that, "...It is forbidden to use any other language orscript than Turkish in propaganda disseminated in radio or television as wellas in other election propaganda."[305][305]

Mr. Nurettin Basut, who ran as an independent candidateduring the 1991 parliamentary elections and on the HADEP list in the 1995general elections, faced prosecution under Article 58 of the Election Law bothtimes for speaking Kurdish. According to the indictment in the second case, Mr.Basut and another suspect in the case "spoke Kurdish at a rally organized byHADEP in A-r- province and [thereby] acted contradictory to the prohibitionsoutlined in Article 58 of Law No. 298..."[306][306]Both men were found guilty and given seven-month sentences. This convictionsuperseded a one-year, four-month suspended sentence Mr. Basut received in thecase stemming from the 1991 elections. He has appealed the second case, whichis still pending.

In Broadcasting

Prohibitions still prevent the useof Kurdish in broadcasting. The abolition of Law No. 2932 of October 1983 ("TheLaw Concerning Publications and Broadcasts in Languages Other Than Turkish")removed legal obstacles to publishing in Kurdish and other languages, but notimpediments to broadcasting.[307][307]The constitutional basis for Law No. 2932, however, still exists.[308][308]The 1994 RTÜK law, which regulates radio and television broadcasting, mandatesthe exclusive use of Turkish except in certain circumstances.[309][309]

Despite an absolute prohibition against broadcasting inKurdish, Kurdish-language music and music videos-as long as they are notovertly political-seem to be tolerated. The army, in fact, runs a radio stationcalled "Voice of the Tigris" (DicleRadyosu) that broadcasts in the two major Kurdish dialects, Kurmanc- andSorani, as well as in Turkish and Turkmen. An observer of the Kurds in Turkeycommented that, "Kurdish music is played, as long as it is not political. Andthere are music videos in Kurdish, some shot in Northern Iraq and some inEurope...There are no talk shows in Kurdish, however."[310][310]Dr. Haluk -ahin, the news coordinator atKanalD,a mainstream private television station, noted that, "There are storiesfrom the region [ethnic Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey], and people speakin Kurdish so we subtitle them in Turkish. Occasionally, people have sung songsin Kurdish."[311][311]Mustafa Alt-oklar is planning to subtitle in Kurdish his filmHeavy Novel (A-r Roman), a bleakdepiction of poverty and police abuse in Istanbul.[312][312]Those who have tried to do more, however, have faced serious obstacles.[313][313]

Many state officials realize the need to legalizeKurdish-language broadcasting given that many ethnic Kurds-especially thoseliving in southeastern Turkey-speak Turkish poorly or not at all. Without sucha medium, the state is unable to reach a substantial section of ethnic Kurds.Professor Doctor Salih Y-ld-r-m, the state minister responsible for the southeast,recently commented that,

Kurdish language television is necessary. Sixty-onepercent of our women in the region are illiterate, and one-half do not knowTurkish. If for the seventy-five year history of the republic you have nottaught your people Turkish, you have not introduced your culture, do you havethe right to hold someone responsible for that? If television stations likeMED-TV presents its own fallacies and says they are correct, isn't theresponsibility for this ours? There is nothing to be afraid of with Kurdishtelevision. To explain your own facts to these people, you have to reach themin their own language, customs and usage, and traditions.[314][314]

Bülent Tanör, the legal scholar who authored the TÜS-ADreport on democratization, echoed Professor Y-ld-r-m's comments: "The militaryneeds TV and radio in Kurdish to give its message. It sees that MED TV, whichin effect is PKK TV, is effective. They [the military] have this "Tigris Radio"which broadcasts in Kurdish. It shows that the state recognizes that it has todo something."[315][315]

The prohibition on broadcasting in Kurdish prevents marketforces from operating and thus short circuits Turkey's vibrant private sector.Restrictions raise transaction costs and make entry into prohibited areasattractive only to those ideologically committed or those able to flout theprohibition: in this case, a radio station operated by the Turkish Army and asatellite television station, MED TV, whose programming is largely sympatheticto the PKK and which regularly provides a forum for the PKK leader, Mr.Abdullah Öcalan. An ethnic Kurdish businessman from Diyarbak-r commented that,

You have to change the laws. If you don't change thelaws, you can't do anything. It is because of the laws that there isn't Kurdishbroadcasting. RTUK, other laws. The lack of Kurdish broadcasting is not aquestion of economics. Local businessmen would open Kurdish-languagenewspapers, radio stations, and television stations. It is natural, the case ofmeeting a demand in a capitalist economy. People would do market research. Ifthere were no legal obstacles from the state, we would have a non-PKK KurdishTV and more people would watch it than MED-TV. I would want MED-TV not to bethe mouth of the PKK. I would want them to broadcast all parts of our people,it would be better.[316][316]

Publishing in Kurdish

Only a handful of small weeklynewspapers or journals publish entirely or partly in Kurdish despite theabsence of legal restrictions. None of the mainstream newspapers do. OktayEk-i, the head of Press Council of Turkey and chief columnist at the masscirculation dailyHürriyet, statedthat lack of demand prevented his paper from publishing in Kurdish, even aninsert or a single page. He argued that "Even they [those publishing inKurdish] can't maintain their own newspapers."[317][317]

The Kurdish-language papers that do exist face legalpressure, but it is unclear whether such harassment is motivated by the contentof the articles or the language in which they are written, or a combination ofboth. Koray Düzgören, a journalist who follows Kurdish issues, commented that,"The state doesn't discriminate. It wants to close Kurdish publications. Thosethat produce culture and literature survive to a greater extent."[318][318]Even the state minister for human rights, Dr. Hikmet Sami Türk, admitted that,"There are Kurdish-language newspapers, but such repression against them, whichdoes exist, shouldn't happen. But such newspapers do exist."[319][319]

The fate of the weekly, bilingual Turkish-KurdishHêvi (Hope),which started publishing inNovember 1996, is emblematic ofthe pressure that such publications face.[320][320]A majority ofHêvi's weekly issueshave been confiscated on the day of publication or shortly thereafter by stateprosecutors, allegedly for violating Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law orArticle 312 of the penal code. The vast majority of confiscation orders arebecause of articles written in Turkish, not Kurdish. According to the paper'seditor, Fehmi I-k,

The paper is printed both abroad and within thecountry because of confiscations. Of the various issues ofHevi, only three to date have not been confiscated; the otherthirty-six have been confiscated by DGM under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Lawor Article 312. Of all the issues we have published, in our various incarnations,only fifty were not confiscated. Confiscation decisions are strange. It is asif they don't even read the paper.[321][321]

Often criminal cases are opened in connection with theconfiscation order. Mr. I-k added that, "At this point, in cases that have beenconfirmed by the appellate court, our responsible editor was sentenced to oneyear, six months and received a sentence of TL100 million (U.S. $624)." Othernewspapers publishing in Kurdish have faced similar pressure.[322][322]

Book publishing in Kurdish also seems to avoid legalprosecution when compared with Turkish-language publishing done by the samepublishing house. -efik Beyaz, the head of the unregistered Kurdish Institute,stated that, "Until today we have had four books confiscated. All were inTurkish. They try not to open a legal case against the ones in Kurdish."[323][323]Abdullah Keskin, the head of Avesta Publishing, commented that, "OurKurdish-language books are not controversial. We publish poetry, novels, andstories. They don't confiscate these books..."[324][324]Since late 1996, the Mesopotamian Cultural Center (Mezopotamya KültürMerkezi-MKM) has been publishing a monthly Kurdish-language arts journal,Jiyana Rew-en, which had escapedprosecution.[325][325]

Mr. Keskin, the head of Avesta Publishing, argued that, "Theauthorities don't confiscate these books because they don't want to recognizethe Kurdish language." The lack of prosecutors and police officers who speakKurdish may be another reason. Murat Batk-, the editor ofJiyana Rew-en, explained how he was asked by a prosecutor toprovide a translation of an article for the prosecutor's investigation: "Theprosecutor called me and said that he was thinking of opening a case against usbut that he hadn't read any articles. He asked me to translate a few and bringthem to him."[326][326]Most likely, both factors play a role.


Excerpts from Relevant Laws and Decrees
(All translations unofficial.)
Constitution of the Republic of Turkey/Türkiye Cümhuriyeti Anayasas
(No. 2709, Adopted November 7, 1982)

Preamble, (Amended: 1995/4121.1)
(Paragraph 5)

No protection shall be given to thoughts or opinions thatrun counter to Turkish national interests, the fundamental principle of theexistence of the indivisibility of the Turkish state and territory, thehistorical and moral values of Turkishness, or the nationalism, principles,reforms, and modernism of Atatürk, and that as required by the principle ofsecularism there shall be no absolutely no interference of sacred religiousfeeling in the affairs of state and politics;

Article 4

The provisions of Article 1 of the constitution establishingthe form of the state as a Republic, the provisions of Article 2 on thecharacteristics of the Republic, and the provisions of Article 3 shall not beamended, nor shall their amendment be proposed.

Article 26-Freedom of Expressionand the Dissemination of Thought

26.1Everyone hasthe right to express and disseminate his thought and opinion by speech, inwriting, or in pictures or through other media, individually or collectively.This right includes the freedom to receive and impart information and ideaswithout interference from official authorities...

26.2The exercise ofthese freedoms may be restricted for the purpose of preventing crime, punishingoffenders, withholding information duly classified as a state secret,protecting the reputation and rights and the private and family life ofothers...

26.3No languageprohibited by law shall be used in the expression and dissemination of thought.Any written or printed documents, phonograph records, magnetic or video tapes,and other means of expression used in contravention of this provision shall beseized by a duly issued decision of a judge or, in cases where delay is deemedprejudicial, by the competent authority designated by law.

Article 27-Freedom of Science and Arts

27.1Everyone hasthe right to study and teach freely, explain, disseminate science and arts andto carry out research in these fields.

27.2The right todisseminate shall not be exercised for the purpose of changing the provisionsof Articles 1, 2, 3, of this constitution...[327][327]

Article 28-Freedom of the Press

28.1The press isfree and shall not be censored. The establishment of a printing house shall notbe subject to prior permission and to the deposit of financial guarantee.

28.2Publicationshall not be made in any language prohibited by law...

28.4In thelimitation of freedom of the press, Articles 26 and 27 of the constitution areapplicable.

28.5Anyone whowrites or prints any news or articles which threaten the internal or externalsecurity of the state or the indivisible integrity of the state with itsterritory and nation, which tend to incite offense, riot or insurrection, orwhich refer to classified state secrets and anyone who prints or transmits suchnews or articles to others for the above purpose shall be held responsibleunder the law relevant to these offenses...

Article 42.9

No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mothertongue to Turkish citizens in teaching and learning institutions. Foreignlanguages to be taught at learning and teaching institutions and the rulesunder which schools conducting training and education in a foreign language areto be determined by law. The provisions of international treaties will berespected.

Turkish Penal Code/ Türk Ceza Kanunu (No. 765, AdoptedMarch 1, 1926)

Article 155

Those who, except in circumstances indicated in theaforementioned articles, publish articles inciting people to break the law orharm the security of the country, or make publications or suggestions that makepeople unwilling to serve in the military or make speeches to that end inpublic meetings or gathering places, shall be imprisoned from between twomonths to two years and be punished with a heavy fine of between twenty-fiveand 200 lira.

N.B.: The monetary fine in the article written is raised 180times.

Article 158-(Amended: 1961/235)

Whoever insults the President of the Republic face-to-faceor through cursing shall face a heavy penalty of not more than three years.

If the insulting or cursing happens in the absence of thePresident of the Republic, those who commit the crime will be liable toimprisonment of between one and three years. Even if the name of the Presidentof the Republic is not directly mentioned, allusion and hint shall beconsidered as an attack made directly against the President if there ispresumptive evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the attack was made againstthe President of Turkey.

If the crime is committed in any published form, thepunishment will increase from one-third to one-half.

Article 159-(Amended:1961/235)

Those who publicly insult or ridicule the moral personalityof Turkishness, the Republic, the Parliament, the Government, State Ministers,the military or security forces of the state, or the Judiciary will be punishedwith a penalty of no less than one year and no more than six years of maximumsecurity imprisonment...

If insulting Turkishness is carried out in a foreign countryby a Turk the punishment given will be increased from one-third to one-half.

Article 311-Inciting to commit a crime, Threatening withthe goal of inciting panic and fear- (Amended: 1953/6123); (Amended: 1981/2370)

One who publicly incites the commission of a crime shall bepunished in the ways below.

1.If the penaltyof the felony incited is higher than the duration of the heavy penalty, a heavyimprisonment of between three and five years;

2.If limitedheavy imprisonment or imprisonment is necessary, it will be from three monthsto three years imprisonment in accordance with the type of crime.

3.In othercircumstances, a heavy fine of between 1,000 and 5,000 lira will be applied.[328][328]

(Amendment: 1981/2370)

If the incitement occurs by various means of mass media,sound tapes, records, films, papers, periodicals, or with other pressinstruments, or by writings written by hand and then multiplied and printed ordistributed, or by signs or written announcements hung, the heavy imprisonmentand fines which will be determined according to the paragraphs above will bedoubled.

Article 312-(Amended: 1981/2370)

One who openly praises an action considered criminal underthe law or speaks positively about it or incites people to disobey the lawshall be sentenced from six months to two years of imprisonment and to a heavyfine of between 2,000 and 10,000 lira.[329][329]

One who openly incites people to enmity and hatred bypointing to class, racial, religious, confessional, or regional differenceswill be punished by imprisonment of between one to three years and a heavy fineof between 3,000 and 12,000 lira.[330][330]If the incitement is done in a way that could possibly be dangerous for publicsecurity, the punishment given to the perpetrator is increased from one-thirdto one-half.

Penalties given to those who carry out crimes in theparagraphs written above by means outlined in the second paragraph of Article311 will be increased accordingly.

Anti-Terror Law/Terörle Mücadele Kanunu (No. 3713, AdoptedApril 12, 1991)

Article 8-Propaganda against the indivisibility of theState-(Amended: 1995\4126.1)

Written or oral propaganda, along with meetings,demonstrations, and marches, that have the goal of destroying the indivisibleunity of the state with its territory and nation of the Republic of Turkeycannot be conducted. Those who conduct such activities shall be punished withimprisonment of between one and three years and a heavy fine of between 100million lira and 300 million lira. If this crime is conducted habitually,imprisonment cannot be converted into a monetary fine...[331][331]

If the propaganda crime determined in the first paragraph iscommitted by means of periodicals determined in the third article of the PressLaw No. 5860, the owner will also be given a monetary fine of an amount up toninety percent of the past month's average sales even if the frequency of theperiodical is less than a month. This fine, however, cannot be less than 100million lira. The responsible editor of the periodicals will be subject toone-half of the monetary fine given to the owner as well as imprisonment ofbetween six months and two years.

If the propaganda crime determined in the first paragraph iscommitted by press works or other mass communication instruments outside of thewritten periodicals in the second paragraph, the responsible editor as well asthe owners of the means of mass communication will face imprisonment of betweensix months and two years and a heavy fine of between 100-300 million lira. Inaddition, if the act is committed by means of radio or television, a broadcastprohibition of between one and fifteen days can be given to the said radio andtelevision stations.

If carried out by means explained in the second paragraph orby methods of mass communication outlined in the third paragraph, thepunishment determined in paragraph onewillincrease from one-third to one-half.

Political Parties Law/ Siyasi Partiler Kanunu (No. 2820,Adopted April 26, 1982)

Article 81: Preventing the Creation of Minorities

Political parties:

a)cannot putforward that minorities exist in the Turkish Republic based on national,religious, confessional, racial, or language differences...

b)cannot bymeans of protecting, developing, or disseminating language or cultures otherthan the Turkish language and culture through creating minorities in theRepublic of Turkey have the goal of destroying national unity or be engaged inactivities to this end;

c)cannot use alanguage other than Turkish in writing and printing party statute or program,at congresses, at meetings in open air or indoor gatherings; at meetings, andin propaganda, cannot use or distribute placards, pictures, phonograph records,voice and visual tapes, brochures and statements written in a language otherthan Turkish; cannot remain indifferent to these actions and acts committed byothers; however, it is possible to translate party statutes and programs intoforeign languages other than those forbidden by law.

The Law concerning the Founding and Broadcasts ofTelevision and Radio/ Radyo ve Televizyonlar- n Kurulu- ve Yay-nlar- Hakk-ndaKanun (No. 3984, Adopted April 13, 1994)[332][332]

Article 4: Broadcasting principles:

Radio and Television broadcast are to be carried out in the understandingof public service according to the principles below:
Broadcasts cannot be contradictory to thefollowing:

a)the existenceand independence of the Turkish Republic, the indivisible unity of the statewith its territory and nation;

b)the nationaland spiritual values of society...

d)the generalmorality, civil peace, and structure of the Turkish family;

Must be conducted in accordance with:

h)the generalgoals and basic principles of Turkish national education and the development ofnational culture;

i)fairness andobjectivity in broadcasting and the fundamental principle of respect for thelaw...

l)to presentnews in a speedy and correct way;

m)the principlethat broadcasts will not be made that have a negative effect on the physical,intellectual, mental, and moral development of children and youth...

t)radio andtelevision broadcasts will be made in Turkish; however, for the purpose ofteaching or of imparting news those foreign languages that have made acontribution to the development of universal cultural and scientific works canbe used.

Foreign Language Education and Teaching Law (No. 2923)

Article 2

a)The mothertongue of Turkish citizens cannot be taught in any language other thanTurkish...

c)Taking intoconsideration the view of the National Security Council, the Council ofMinisters by its decision will determine in Turkey what foreign languages canbe taught.

Decision No. 92/2788,Official Gazette, March 20,1992

...It had been decided by the Council of Ministers on March4, 1992 that in official and private courses education and teaching are to bemade in the following languages: English, French, German as well as Russian,Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese.

The law concerning fundamental provisions on elections andvoter registries/ Seçimlerin Temel Hükümleri ve Seçmen Kütükleri Hakk-nda Kanun(No. 298, Adopted April 26, 1961)

Article 58

...It is forbidden to use any other language or script thanTurkish in propaganda disseminated in radio or television as well as in otherelection propaganda.

Press Law/ Bas-n Kanunu (No. 5680, Adopted July 15, 1950)

Article 1

The press is free.

The publishing of printed works is subject to the writtendirectives in this law.

Article 16-Criminal responsibility for crimes committed bymeans of the press-(Amended 1983/2950)

1.Theresponsibility for crimes committed in periodicals belongs, together with theperson who caused the crime, whether the writer, news writer, artist, orcaricaturist, to the periodical's responsible editor. However, punishment'sdepriving liberty given to responsible editors without regard to their durationshall be converted to monetary fines... Responsible editors cannot be punishedwith security detention.

2.Theresponsible editor is not required to give the name of writers, news writers,artists, or caricaturists who publish with a pen name or alias. Without regardto the first paragraph, the responsibility for a writing, or a news report, ora picture, or a caricature, where the author of a work is not clear or wherethe author's names is not revealed in a true manner by the responsible editorat the latest during the first court interrogation, shall fall to theresponsible editor as if he were the person who through writing, or newswriting, or making a picture or caricature caused the crime.

3.Theresponsible editor is not responsible for writings, news, pictures, orcaricatures published by the periodical's owner without his approval. Undersuch circumstances, the legal responsibility of the responsible editor belongsto the person who publishes the writing, news, picture, or caricature.

4.In crimes thatare committed in publications that are not defined as periodicals [books], thelegal responsibility belongs to the publisher together with the writer,translator, or artist. However, regardless of the duration, all verdicts givingthe penalty of imprisonment for the publisher shall be converted to fines.Computation of the fine is based on the amount mentioned in the Law No. 647 onthe Execution of Penalties, Article 4, Paragraph 1. Publishers are not to bepenalized with security detention.

In the case where the author of the printed work publishedas a non-periodical is not identified, the responsibility belongs to thepublisher without regard to the aforementioned articles. In the case when thework is published without the knowledge and consent of its writer, translator,or artist, only the publisher becomes responsible as if the one who created thework.

When the above mentioned persons are not identified ora case in a Turkish court is not opened against them, the responsibilitybelongs to the seller and distributor when the publisher is not known.

In quotations that are made in publications publishedin Turkey without the consent of the owner, the responsibility belongs to theone who made the quote.

If publication is made in any language prohibited bylaw, the relevant articles which envision converting into monetary fines and ofnot giving a penalty of placing under security detention shall not be applied.

Article 31-(Amended 1983/2950)

The entry or distribution into Turkey of works published ina foreign country that contradict the indivisible unity of the state with itsterritory and nation, national hegemony, the existence of the Republic,national security, public order, general law and order, the common good,general morality or health can be outlawed by a decision of the Council of Ministers.

Provincial Administration Law/ -l Idaresi Kanunu (No.5442, Adopted June 10, 1949)

Article 2/d/2 (Amended 1959:7267)

Village names that are not Turkish and give rise toconfusion are to be changed in the shortest possible time by the Interior Ministryafter receiving the opinion of the Provincial Permanent Committee.

Police Duty and Responsibility Law/ Polis Vazife veSelâhiyet Kanunu (No. 2559, Adopted July 4, 1934)

Article 8-(Amended: 1985/3233)

If the police are in possession of incontrovertible evidenceand by order of the district's highest civil servant, areas where plays areconducted, presentations given, films or videos shown that will damage theindivisible unity of the state with its territory and nation, constitutionalorder, or general security or common morality can be closed by the police orhave their activities stopped.

If the reason for the closing or ceasing of activitiesrequire a legal investigation by the state, the investigation file shall beimmediately given to the judiciary...

The Law concerning crimes committed against Atatürk/Atatürk Aleyhine I-lenen Suçlar Hakk-nda Kanun (No. 5816, Adopted July 25,1951)

Article 1

Anyone who publicly insults or curses the memory of Atatürkshall be imprisoned with a heavy sentence of between one and three years.

A heavy sentence of between one and five years shall begiven to anyone who destroys, breaks, ruins, or defaces a statue, bust, ormonuments representing Atatürk or the grave of Atatürk.

Anyone who encourages others to commit the crimes outlinedin the paragraphs above will be punished as if committing the crime.

Article 2

If the crimes outlined in the first article are committed bya group of two or more individuals, or publicly, or in public districts or bymeans of the press will have the penalty imposed increased by a proportion ofone-half.

If the crimes outlined in the second paragraph of the firstarticle are committed using force...the penalty will be doubled...



Human Rights Watch conducts regular, systematic investigations of human rights abuses in some seventy countries around the world. Our reputation for timely, reliable disclosures has made us an essential source of information for those concerned with human rights. We address the human rights practices of governments of all political stripes, of all geopolitical alignments, and of all ethnic and religious persuasions. Human Rights Watch defends freedom of thought and expression, due process and equal protection of the law, and a vigorous civil society; we document and denounce murders, disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, discrimination, and other abuses of internationally recognized human rights. Our goal is to hold governments accountable if they transgress the rights of their people.

Human Rights Watch began in 1978 with the founding of its Europe and Central Asia division (then known as Helsinki Watch). Today, it also includes divisions covering Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition, it includes three thematic divisions on arms, children's rights, and women's rights. It maintains offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, London, Brussels, Moscow, Dushanbe, Rio de Janeiro, and Hong Kong. Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.

The staff includes Kenneth Roth, executive director; Michele Alexander, development director; Reed Brody, advocacy director; Carroll Bogert, communications director; Cynthia Brown, program director; Barbara Guglielmo, finance and administration director; Jeri Laber, special advisor; Lotte Leicht, Brussels office director; Patrick Minges, publications director; Susan Osnos, associate director; Jemera Rone, counsel; Wilder Tayler, general counsel; and Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative. Jonathan Fanton is the chair of the board. Robert L. Bernstein is the founding chair.

The regional directors of Human Rights Watch are Peter Takirambudde, Africa; José Miguel Vivanco, Americas; Sidney Jones, Asia; Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia; and Hanny Megally, Middle East and North Africa. The thematic division directors are Joost R. Hiltermann, arms; Lois Whitman, children's; and Regan Ralph, women's.

The members of the board of directors are Jonathan Fanton, chair; Lisa Anderson, Robert L. Bernstein, William Carmichael, Dorothy Cullman, Gina Despres, Irene Diamond, Adrian W. DeWind, Fiona Druckenmiller, Edith Everett, James C. Goodale, Vartan Gregorian, Alice H. Henkin, Stephen L. Kass, Marina Pinto Kaufman, Bruce Klatsky, Harold Hongju Koh, Alexander MacGregor, Josh Mailman, Samuel K. Murumba, Andrew Nathan, Jane Olson, Peter Osnos, Kathleen Peratis, Bruce Rabb, Sigrid Rausing, Anita Roddick, Orville Schell, Sid Sheinberg, Gary G. Sick, Malcolm Smith, Domna Stanton, and Maya Wiley. Robert L. Bernstein is the founding chair of Human Rights Watch.



[2][2]In 1991, inan election alliance with another party, the Welfare Party received 16.4percent of the vote; in 1987, running alone, it garnered around 7 percent. In1977, the previous election it contested before 1987, its predecessor, theNational Salvation Party (MSP), received around 8.3 percent of the vote.

[3][3]The WelfareParty reconstituted itself as the Virtue Party (Fazilet), the largest party inparliament.

[4][4]The other twopartners include the center-left Democratic Left Party (DSP) of Mr. B-lentEcevit and the splinter Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) of Mr. H-sammettinCindoruk.

[5][5]Unofficialpreamble translation.

Article 2 of the constitution pronounces Turkey, a"democratic, secular, and social state governed by the rule of law...loyal tothe nationalism of Atatürk...", while Article 4 declares that Article 2 "cannotbe amended nor can its amendment be put forward." Article 4 also prohibitsamending or suggesting the amendment of Article 1 ("The Form of the State") andArticle 3 ("The Characteristics of the Republic").

[6][6]The term-nk-lapç-l-k has been translated both as "reformism" and "revolutionism." ErichJ. Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London: I.B. Tauris, 1993), pp. 189-90.Statism referred to state ownership of major industries.

[7][7]Feroz Ahmad,The Making of Modern Turkey (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 79. This concept isstill held by many. Dr. Turgay Yücel, an advisor with the Justice Ministry,told Human Rights Watch that, "Turkish people don't have classes. This is thething that our Western friends miss." Interview, Ankara, September 1997.

[8][8]Zürcher, p.189.

[9][9]Article 24.4states that, "Religious and moral education and instruction will be conductedunder the supervision and control of the state. Religious culture and moralinstruction will be among the mandatory courses taught in primary and middle-leveleducational institutions..." The implementation of mandatory, HanefiSunni-based instruction caused consternation among Turkey's Alevi populationwhich practice a heterodox, syncretic form of Shiism.

[10][10]Ahmad, p.219.

[11][11]In September1995, President Demirel, for example, announced that, "I consider everyone aTurk who chooses to call himself a Turk. Together with this, if an individualdemands to call himself a Kurd, I consider this person a Kurd, but as a Turkishcitizen, because [he is] as a part of the Turks." Reprinted in Kemal Kiri-çiand Gareth Winrow, Kürt Sorunu: Kökeni ve Geli-mi (Istanbul: Tarih Vakf- YurtYay-nlar-, April 1997), p. 217. The work originally appeared in English as TheKurdish Question and Turkey: An Example of Trans-State Ethnic Conflict.

For more information on nationalism and ethnicidentity see, "Restrictions on the Use of the Kurdish Language."

[12][12]A 1995 studycommissioned by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmens' Association (T-SIAD), for example, called for the reform of traditional Turkish statestructures. The report drew the following juxtapositions between the presentstate of affairs and what T-SIAD termed "an optimal state:" sacred state vs.individual-centered state; closed, secret state vs. open/transparent state; andan authoritarian state vs. a liberal state. See T-SIAD,"OptimalState,"(Optimal Devlet), Istanbul, September 1995, pp. 17&27.

[13][13]ZelihaMidilii, "Neye dayanarak bu çocuklar- mahkum ettiniz?" ("What were these kidsconvicted on?"), Milliyet, Istanbul (Internet edition), January 18, 1997. Thecase became known as the "Manisa case," the city where the ten were arrested.

[14][14]"Kendimi,devlete ve millete emanet ettim," Hürriyet, Istanbul (Internet Edition),December 12, 1997.

The Susurluk scandal, named after a town in westernTurkey, involves the use by security forces of ultra nationalist gunmen tocommit extrajudicial killings and other criminal acts. For more information,see section, "Violence Against Journalists."

[15][15]"Yarg-lanacaklar"("They will be put on trial"), Türkiye, Istanbul, (Internet Edition), December12, 1997. Mr. Bucak's exact words were, "Sonuna kadar devletçiyim."

[16][16]"GüvenliTek Yer Vali Konutu" ("The only safe place is the governor's house"), Radikal,Istanbul, (Internet Edition), April 23, 1998. He and several other suspectswere found guilty and sentenced to 5.5 years of imprisonment.

[17][17]Özbüdün,page 137.

[18][18]Theindictment seeks to close the Democratic Mass Party (DKP). Ironically, theparty's charter recognizes the territorial integrity of Turkey and pledges touphold it. T.C. Cumhuriyet Ba-savc-l-, Iddianame, (Republic of Turkey, RepublicHead Prosecutors Office), Indictment SP.91 Hz.1997/138.

[19][19]"Göçraporu bölücülük suçlamas-," ("Charges of Separatism against MigrationReport"), Milliyet (Internet edition), January 26, 1998.

[20][20]EuropeanCourt of Human Rights, Sunday Times v. United Kingdom, Judgement of 26 April1979, Series A, No. 30, Para. 59.


[22][22]EuropeanCourt of Human Rights, Case of Incal v. Turkey, (41/1997/825/1031), Judgement, Strasbourg,9 June 1998, paragraph 57.

[23][23]The leafletwas never distributed.

[24][24]Incal v.Turkey, paragraphs 46, 57-59.

[25][25]EuropeanCourt of Human Rights, The Case of the Socialist Party and Others v. Turkey,(20/1997/804/1007), Judgement, Strasbourg, 25 May 1998.

[26][26]In the case,the court ruled that, "notwithstanding its autonomous role and particularsphere of application, Article 11 must also be considered in light of Article10. The protection of opinions and freedom to express them is one of theobjectives of the freedom of assembly and association as enshrined in Article11..." See Case of the Socialist Party and Others v. Turkey, paragraph 41.

[27][27]The Case ofthe Socialist Party and Others v. Turkey, paragraphs 43, 45, 46, 52, 54.

[28][28]EuropeanCourt of Human Rights, Case of Zana v.Turkey, (69/1996/688/880), Judgement,Strasbourg, 25 November 1997, paragraph 12. The statement appeared in aninterview published in the August 30, 1987, edition of Cumhuriyet, then aleading national daily published in Istanbul.

The court did rule, however, that Turkey had violatedMr. Zana's rights under Article 6, a fair trial.

[29][29]The Case ofZana v. Turkey.

[30][30]SeeAppendix, "Excerpts from Relevant Laws and Decrees."

[31][31]Türk CezaKanunu (Turkish Penal Code). This article was last amended in 1961.

[32][32]Italicsadded. Dr. Abdullah Pulat Gözübüyük, Yarg-tay 8. Ceza Dairesi Ba-kan-, TürkCeza Kanunu Aç-lamas- (An Explanation of the Turkish Penal Code), (Ankara:Kazanc- Yay-nevi, 1974), p. 620. Dr. Gözübüyük served as the head of the EighthCriminal Office of the High Court of Appeals.

[33][33]Article 155states that,

Those who, except in circumstances indicated in theaforementioned articles, publish articles inciting people to break the law orharm the security of the country, or make publications or suggestions that makepeople unwilling to serve in the military or make speeches to that end inpublic meetings or gathering places, shall be imprisoned from between twomonths to two years and be punished with a heavy fine of between twenty-fiveand 200 lira.

Article 158 states that,

Whoever insults the President of the Republicface-to-face or through cursing shall face a heavy penalty of not more thanthree years... Even if the name of the President of the Republic is notdirectly mentioned, allusion and hint shall be considered as an attack madedirectly against the President if there is presumptive evidence beyond areasonable doubt that the attack was made against the President of Turkey. Ifthe crime is committed in any published form, the punishment will increase fromone third to one half.

Article 15 of the State Civil Service Law, whichprevents civil servants from speaking to the press, also aims to protect thestate from outside scrutiny.

[34][34]Article 312was amended by Law No. 2370 in October 1981, after the military coup ofSeptember 1980, to add paragraph two quoted above. Before the amendment,Article 312 made no mention of "racial, religious, confessional, or regionaldifferences." The Article was clearly amended in reaction to the ethnicreawakening among many Kurds that came to the fore in the 1970s. In addition,Article 312.2 carried a heavier penalty, one to three years of imprisonment,than did Article 312.1, "praising a crime," which hitherto had mandatedimprisonment of three months to one year. Imprisonment under Article 312.1 wasalso raised under Law No. 2370, to between six months and two years. SeeGözübüyük, pp. 516-7, for the unamended version of Article 312.

[35][35]Until itswas abolished by the Anti-Terror Law in 1991, Article 163.5 prohibited conductingpropaganda using religion or religious symbols.

[36][36]TheAnti-Terror Law was passed in April 1991, in part to replace Articles 141, 142,and 163 of the Penal Code. They, respectively, were used to prohibit Communist,Kurdish nationalist, and Islamist activities.

[37][37]Mr. Kemalwas prosecuted for an article titled "Journey of Lies" (Yalanlar Seferi) thatappeared in translation in the German news weekly Der Spiegel; eventually hewas acquitted of this charge.

[38][38]Italicsadded. Unofficial translation. -smail Malkoç and Mahmut Güler, Ceza veYarg-lamada Temel Yasalar (Fundamental Laws in the Judiciary and Penal Code),(Ankara: Adil Yay-nevi, 1994), p. 498. In such laws one encounters the same setphrase: "the indivisible unity of the state with its territory and nation"(Devletin ülkesi ve milleti ile bölünmez bütünlü-ü).

[39][39]The amendedArticle 8, which still stands, states that, Written or oral propaganda, alongwith meetings, demonstrations, and marches, that have the goal of destroyingthe indivisible unity of the state with its territory and nation of theRepublic of Turkey cannot be conducted.

The amendment to Article 8 also reduced sentences frombetween two to five years to one to three years.

[40][40]Discussionwith Dr. Hikmet Sami Türk, State Minister for Human Rights, Turkish Embassy,Washington, D.C., June 16, 1998. The draft law amending Article 8 apparentlynarrows the definition of the crime. Penal code Articles 7, 17, 159, and 312are also included in the bill, which is presently on the agenda of the parliament'sgeneral assembly.

[41][41]The periodof imprisonment is increased by one half if the act is carried out in thepress.

[42][42]Interview,Princeton, New Jersey, June 1998.

[43][43]Interview,Istanbul, September 1997. A photojournalist for the now defunct left-wing dailyEvrensel, Metin Göktepe was beaten to death in police detention in January1996. After much public outrage and dogged media coverage, five policemencharged in the case were convicted in March 1998 and sentenced to five years.Four others were acquitted. The convictions, however, were overturned on appealin July 1998. Another court ordered their retrial, and the men are presently ontrial in Afyon in western Turkey.

[44][44]Henri J.Barkey and Graham E. Fuller, Turkey's Kurdish Question (Oxford, England: Rowmanand Littlefield Publishers), 1998, p. 122.

[45][45]According tomany interviewed for this report, media holding groups have increasingly movedaway from the news as their main source of activity and income to other, morelucrative fields. They want a free hand to run their businesses as they see fitand in return offer, through favorable coverage, legitimization of thegovernment and state.

Some pointed toward the recent unsuccessful attempt toamend the Radio and Television Broadcasting Law (RTÜK) as nothing more than aneffort to legalize the recent purchase by media holding groups of state-ownedelectricity distribution networks. Under the present version of the RTÜK Law,individuals who own more than 10 percent of the shares in a media company areforbidden from taking part in public tenders, such as the privatization of theelectricity distribution networks.

For a critical interpretation of the amendment to theRTÜK Law, see -lnur Çevik, "Why all the obstinacy to please media bosses,"Turkish Daily News, Ankara, Internet Edition, May 8, 1998; -lnur Çevik, "Willthe Parliament start working at last," Turkish Daily News, Internet Edition,May 18, 1998; Kemal Balc-, "Media barons block Parliament," Turkish Daily News,Internet Edition, May 26, 1998.

Those who defended the bill argued that it wouldintroduce transparency and greater financial oversight. See Derya Sazak,"-efafl-k Korkusu" ("The Fear of Transparency"), Milliyet, Internet Edition,May 26, 1998.

[46][46]Interview,Princeton, New Jersey, June 1998.

[47][47]Interview,Istanbul, September 1997. About one-half of the estimated two million Turkishcitizens who live in Germany are believed to be ethnic Kurds. In 1996,provocateurs ripped down the Turkish flag at the party congress of HADEP, aKurdish nationalist party. In its place, they hung a PKK flag and a portrait ofits leader, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan.

[48][48]Ayd-n Do-an,who heads a company bearing his name, owns three of Turkey's leading dailiesthat control about thirty-five percent of daily circulation: Milliyet,Hürriyet, Radikal. Dinç Bilgin of the Sabah group controls another 35 percentof newspaper circulation along with two mass-circulation dailies: Sabah andYeni Yüzy-l. Each man also owns a television station.

The rest of the market is divided among a number ofnational dailies of various ideological and editorial points of view. Theyinclude the following: Cumhuriyet, Kemalist intellectual; Türkiye,nationalist-conservative; Ak-am, conservative; Milli Gazete, editorial supportfor Islamist Fazilet Party; Akit, radical Islamist; Yeni -afak, Islamistintellectual; Zaman, mainstream Islamist. The local press in Turkey isgenerally weak or non-existent.

[49][49]Interview,Ankara, September 1997.

[50][50]Interview,Istanbul, September 1997. The individual asked that he remain anonymous.

[51][51]"An ‘IdiotBox' or Instrument for Indoctrination," Turkish Probe (Ankara), April 12, 1996,p. 16.


[53][53]Ibid, p. 18.

[54][54]Ruhican Tul,"Radio Stations Hit the Ceiling," Turkish Probe, April 13, 1993, p. 19.

[55][55]The amendedArticle 133 states that: "Within a framework of conditions regulated by law,founding and running radio and television stations is free."

[56][56]"Promotionand Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression," report ofthe special rapporteur, Mr. Abid Hussain, submitted pursuant to the Commissionon Human Rights Resolution 1996/53, United Nations, E/CN.4/1997/31. There arealso 1,500 local radio stations.

[57][57]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[58][58]Hugh Pope,"Broadcast Revolution in the Air for Turks," The Independent, London, January14, 1995.

[59][59]The fullname of the law is, "The Law Concerning the Founding and Broadcasts ofTelevision and Radio/ Radyo ve Televizyonlar- n Kurulu- ve Yay-nlar- Hakk-ndaKanun" (No. 3984). The law was published in the Official Gazette on April 20,1994.

[60][60]Article 4states that, "Radio and Television broadcasts are to be carried out in theunderstanding of public service according to the principles below:

Broadcasts cannot be contradictory to the following:

a) The existence and independence of the TurkishRepublic, the indivisible unity of the state with its territory and nation;

b) The national and spiritual values of society...

d) The general morality, civil peace, and structure ofthe Turkish family...

g) The principle of not allowing broadcasts thatcreate feelings of hatred in the community by encouraging violence and ethnicseparatism;

Must be conducted in accordance with:

h) The general goals and basic principles of Turkishnational education and the development of national culture;

I) Fairness and objectivity in broadcasting and thefundamental principle of respect for the law...

l) Presenting news in a speedy and correct way;

m) The principle that broadcasts will not be made thathave a negative effect on the physical, intellectual, mental, and moraldevelopment of children and youth...

t) Radio and television broadcasts will be made inTurkish; however, for the purpose of teaching or of imparting news thoseforeign languages that have made a contribution to the development of universalcultural and scientific works can be used."

[61][61]For more onthis see, "Restrictions on the Use of the Kurdish Language."

[62][62]See section,"The Role of Print Media" for a greater discussion of this draft law. InSeptember 1997, the Press Council of Turkey gave the Justice Ministry a draftbill amending the RTÜK Law. There was also talk of changing the law tosubstitute fines for the closing of stations. See "TV, Radio BroadcastingPrinciples Revised," Turkish Daily News, Ankara, September 20, 1997; SungurluReceives Press Council's Draft New RTUK Law," Turkish Daily News, September 11,1997.

[63][63]"TV'lereceza ya-d-" ("Penalties Rain Down on Television Stations"), Milliyet (Internetversion), June 20, 1997. ATV, Cine-5, Show-TV, Kanal E, HBB, Kanal 7, and Kanal6, all television stations, were all closed for a day; Interstar TV was closedfor two days. -ok Radio was closed for a day, while Radio Hedef was closed forfour days.

[64][64]Interviewwith -enol Caner, Legal Adviser, Kanal D, Istanbul, August 1997. Records fromKanal D's Legal Office, January 1999.

[65][65]"TurkeyCloses TV station for Kurd Rebel Programme," Reuters, January 19, 1998.

[66][66]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[67][67]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[68][68]Interview,Turkey, November 1997. The individual requested anonymity because he is not theexecutive producer for the program and did not have permission to speak exofficio for the show.

[69][69]Interview,Ankara, September 1997. In early 1997, the General Staff of the Turkishmilitary began to pressure the then Islamist-led government of Prime MinisterNecmettin Erbakan over what it deemed the government's Islamic policies. OnJune 18, 1997, Prime Minister Erbakan resigned under intense military pressure.See following section, "The Role of the Military."

[70][70]In additionto the president, the MGK includes the prime minister, the ministers ofdefense, foreign affairs, and the interior, as well as the chief of the GeneralStaff and all major military commanders, including the commander of thegendarmerie. The body meets monthly.

To track Islamists, the military has also createdpurely military bodies, such as the "Western Working Group" (Bat- Çal-maGrubu). Former Prime Minister Y-lmaz unsuccessfully tried to force the militaryto disband the organization.


[72][72]Hürriyet,November 24, 1997; "Council Asks Turk Government to Hit Islamic Media,"Reuters, November 26, 1997. The National Security Council charged that thesestations were airing broadcasts that, "conflict with the constitutionallyinviolable principles of the state."

[73][73]T-HV:Türkiye'deBas-n Özgürlü-ü (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey: Press Freedom in Turkey),March 1998, pp. 5-8, p. 11; "Turkish Islamist Reporters Face Eight Years inJail," Reuters, May 21, 1998. In Turkey, civilians can be tried in militarycourts if they violate provisions of the military penal code.

[74][74]All threeare long-time, respected journalists. Mr. Birand has written widely on themilitary, including works on the institution Shirts of Steel (Emret Komutan-m)and on the 1980 coup, The Generals' Coup in Turkey (12 Eyül saat 04.00). Theorder was lifted shortly after it was issued.

[75][75]Interview,August 1998, by phone to Istanbul. Individual requested anonymity.

[76][76]Informationfor this section comes from phone interviews with Mr. Düzgören and frommaterial Mr. Düzgören sent Human Rights Watch. Mr. Düzgören was alsointerviewed for this report in Istanbul in August and September 1997.

[77][77]In November1997, Mr. Düzgören published a collection of his columns written at Radikal andat Yeni Yüzy-l, Excuse us for the Gangs (Çeteden özür diliyoruz).

[78][78]Five died inIstanbul, and one each in Ankara, Bursa, Gebze, and K-rikkale. The remainingtwenty were killed in southeastern Turkey.

[79][79]Informationon murdered journalists comes from the annual report or other reports of theHuman Rights Foundation of Turkey (Türkiye -nsan Haklar- Vakf-T-HV). See 1992Türkiye -nsan Haklar- Raporu, p. 82 and pp. 143-148;1993 Türkiye -nsan Haklar-Raporu, pp. 230-236; 1994 Turkey Human Rights Report, pp. 247-253; 1995 TurkeyHuman Rights Report, pp. 320-1; T-HV:Türkiye'de Bas-n Özgürlü-ü (Human RightsFoundation of Turkey: Press Freedom in Turkey), March 1998, pp. 5-8.

Fourteen of the murders took place in 1992, eight in1993, five in 1994, and one in 1995. Since 1996, one journalist was murdered:Metin Göktepe, reporter for the now closed Evrensel, was beaten to death inIstanbul in police detention in January 1996.

-hsan Karaku-, the owner of Silvan, a local paper inthe Silvan district of Diyarbak-r, was murdered in March 1992 for unknownreasons. Mr. Karaku- had a reputation as a political neutral, and no group tookresponsibility for the murder.

[80][80]214 in1992; 294 in 1993; 193 in 1994; 67 in 1995. The figure is based on informationcontained in the section, "Organization Executions" (Örgüt Infazlar-) of theAnnual Reports of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey for the period1992-1995. The figure cited above does not include indiscriminate fire attacksby the PKK during military operations and the mass targeting of civiliansduring raids on villages.

[81][81]in 1992;429 in 1993; 423 in 1994; 169 in 1995. The figure is based on informationcontained in the section, Unknown Actor Murders (Faili Meçhul Cinayetler) ofthe Annual Reports of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey for the period1992-1995.

[82][82]See thecommittee's report, T.B.M.M. Faili Meçhul Cinayetler Ara-t-rma Komisyonu Raporu(Taslak) (Report of the Turkish Parliament Actor Unknown Murder InvestigationCommission (Draft). The report was later published unedited by a smallleft-wing party, the United Socialist Party (BSP), in July 1995. In June 1995,Human Rights Watch also interviewed the commission's chairman, M. Sad-kAvundukluo-lu, True Path Party (DYP) deputy. He admitted that security officersand others were involved in the killings "as individuals."

[83][83]Ibid, page78-79. Even state officials were intimidated. The report relates an incident inwhich the security director of Batman province was apparently removed from hisoffice after he reported to the commission allegations of interaction betweenHezbullah and a military unit in the province. The report complains that afterthis incident other public officials were reticent in talking: "The end of thepublic official who made statements to our commission on several topics and whoreported things sincerely (samimi) was to be removed from office." See pages80-81.

[84][84]As thisreport was going to press, yet another Susurluk-like gang scandal rockedTurkey. After the August 1998 arrest in France of a wanted Turkish ultranationalist gunman, Alaatin Çak-c-, it was discovered that Mr. Çak-c- had beenin phone contact with a state minister, Mr. Eyüp A-k of the ruling MotherlandParty (ANAP). It was even alleged that Mr. A-k had helped the right-wingerescape capture. For his part, the ANAP minister denied wrongdoing.

[85][85]The Ankara-basedEnglish-language news and economics weekly Briefing complained that the reportpresented "crimes but no criminals." See "Susurluk Back on the Streets,"Briefing, April 7, 1997.

[86][86]VeliÖzdemir, -fade Tutanaklar-: Susurluk Belgeleri 1 (Testimony Minutes: TheSusurluk Documents 1), (Istanbul:Scala Publishing, April 1997). The book is theverbatim testimony of individuals who testified before the Susurluk Commissionof the Turkish Parliament. A second volume came out in October 1997.

[87][87]Twelve pagesof the 120-page report were blacked out. The report was published as a freeinsert by the Istanbul daily Radikal. See, Kutlu Sava-'-n haz-rlad- SusurlukRaporu (The Susurluk Report Prepared by Kutlu Sava-).

[88][88]SusurlukRaporu, p. 11.

[89][89]SusurlukRaporu, p. 61.

[90][90]In addition,before the coup, a network of unofficial links between police and ultra-rightwing national groups, so-called "idealists" or "-lk-c-" existed.

Ultra-nationalists, or -lk-c-, are usually associatedwith the National Action Party (Milli Hareket Partisi-MHP), a right-wing,pan-Turkic, radical nationalist party that was represented in the TurkishParliament until the December 1995 elections, when it received only 8 percentof the vote, failing to pass the 10 percent barrier necessary for parliamentaryrepresentation. Its leader is Alpaslan T-rke-, a retired army colonel whoplayed a major role during Turkey's 1960 coup.

From 1975-1977, the predecessor to MHP, also headed byT-rke-, was a junior partner in Suleyman Demirel's coalition National Front governmentwhere he served as deputy prime minister. At the time there were numerousallegations that T-rke- placed his supporters in the security apparatus. The-lk-c- Gençlik Derne-i, -GD, ["Idealist Youth Association"], which functionedas a youth branch for MHP, carried out some of the extremist right-wing terrorof the 1970s. Feroz Ahmad, a noted scholar of this period, commented in his1993 work The Making of Modern Turkey, that, "Meanwhile, the Grey Wolves[-lk-c-], with T-rke- as deputy premier, also saw themselves as part of thestate and operated with greater confidence in creating a climate of terrordesigned to intimidate their opponents." The -lk-c- fought radical leftistgroups who also used terror tactics in the political violence that plaguedTurkey in the 1970s. Over 5,000 were killed in right/left terror in the yearsimmediately preceding the September 12, 1980, military coup.

After the 1980 coup, T-rke- was arrested and his partyclosed down. MHP was reestablished after a ban on pre-coup parties andpoliticians was lifted. The -lk-c- groups are active today and often battleleftist or Kurdish groups, though at a much lower level than the fighting ofthe 1970s. Some prominent members of the -lk-c- movement later enteredmainstream politics in the 1980s and 1990s. Muhsin Yaz-c-o-lu, chairman of thefar-right "Great Unity Party" (B-y-k Birlik Partisi), which has seven seats inparliament, was active in the -GD in the 1970s.

[91][91]See athree-part series by Erbil Tü-alp on politicization in the police force thatappeared in the daily Radikal from August 1-3, 1997.

[92][92]Thefollowing three paragraphs are reprinted with minor edits from the March 1997Human Rights Watch Report, "Turkey: Torture and Mistreatment in Pre-TrialDetention by the Anti-Terror Police."

[93][93]Human RightsWatch/Helsinki interview, October 1995, pp. 30-31. See also "Kemal" in section,"Interview with Detainees," Human Rights Watch Report, "Turkey: Torture andMistreatment in Pre-Trial Detention by the Anti-Terror Police," March 1997, p.18.

[94][94]Çizmeci,Milliyet, Istanbul, July 1995. See also Human Rights Watch Report, "Turkey:Torture and Mistreatment in Pre-Trial Detention by the Anti-Terror Police,"March 1997, p. 31.

[95][95]"Kamu-SenEylemi: Sa- Sendikaya Polisten Ho-g-r-,"Cumhuriyet, Istanbul, July 5,1996.

[96][96]"M-thi-Raporu", Milliyet, September 22, 1995, p.1-8.

[97][97]Martin VanBruinessen, "Kurds, Turks and the Alevi Revival in Turkey," MERIP, Summer 1996,p. 8.

[98][98]"-zelTim MHP militan-," Cumhuriyet, Istanbul, August 25, 1994.

[99][99]"Genelkurmay'danözel time uyar-," Milliyet, Istanbul, September 25, 1996.


[101][101]JanPacal,"Police File, 1,"Turkish Daily News, Ankara, July 8, 1996.

[102][102]M.Kemal Öke, Gazeteci: Türkiye'de Bas-n Çal-anlar- Üzerine Bir -nceleme(Journalist: A Study of those Working in the Press in Turkey), (Ankara: ÇGDPublishing, December 1994), p. 62. Out of 289 polled, 253 responded.

[103][103]Evrenselwas known as a radical-left, though not extreme left, publication.

[104][104]H-lyaTopcu, "Katiler hâlâ aram-zda," Cumhuriyet Hafta, January 10, 1997. Unless otherwisecited, background information concerning the G-ktepe case comes from thisarticle.

[105][105]Aftermore than two years and as a result of a massive public outcry, five policeofficers were convicted of "manslaughter" in the case and each given 7.5 yearsof imprisonment; six others were acquitted. In July 1998, however, an appealscourt overturned the convictions, and the men are presently being retried.

[106][106]Radikal,April 23, 1998. Journalists attacked included Mert -lkutlu- of Milliyet, andAhmet -k and the columnist Celal Ba-lang-ç of Radikal. -lkutlu- and -k wereknocked unconscious.


[108][108]"Polise3. soru-turma," Milliyet (Internet Edition), April 24, 1998.

[109][109]"CanTurkey's Divisions be Healed," Briefing (Ankara), No. 1153, August 4, 1997, p.3. Officials conducted an investigation into these incidents and met with pressofficials to work toward protecting the press during demonstrations, but littlewas achieved.

[110][110]Thejournalist requested anonymity. Interview, Istanbul, September 1997.

[111][111]Briefing,August 4, 1997, p. 3.

[112][112]"MHPbinas-nda i-kence," ("Torture in the MHP Building"), Cumhuriyet Hafta, May 8,1998, p. 6.

[113][113]"GreyWolves, Police Beat Turkish Protester," Reuters, May 1, 1998. If the policeversion were true, the man's assault would have been a kamikaze attack as hewas being hung from a three-story window.

[114][114]Committeeto Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997, March 1998, p. 53.

[115][115]Attackson the Press 1997, p. 72.

[116][116]TheReporters San Frontieres Newsletter, May 1998, No. 27, p. 5.

[117][117]RSF, Türkiye Kay-p Dü-ler (Turkey: Lost Hopes), May 1997. The RSFrepresentative in Turkey is Nadire Mater, who also serves as the Turkey bureauchief for the IPS news service. The drop in the RSF figure is the result of theAugust 1997 law suspending sentences for responsible editors.


[119][119]"PressCouncil Says 11 Journalists Behind Bars," Reuters, March 31, 1998. Nail Güreli,the head of the Press Council, stated that, "We would like to underline ourview that there is nothing to boast about in Turkey having 11 journalists injail...But the truth is that Turkey is not the country with the highest numberof journalists in prison."

[120][120]Türkiye'deBas-n Özgürlü-ü, pp. 52-58.

[121][121]Kurtulu- and Mücadele, for example, have an editorial policy sympathetic toDev-Sol, an armed urban group that has carried out assassinations of retiredarmy officers, police, and former government members. At-l-m is believedsympathetic to the far-left Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which hasconducted acts of violence. Al-nteri is regarded as sympathetic to the TurkishRevolutionary Communist Union (T-KB), an urban guerilla group. Özgür Halksympathizes with the PKK. All these groups are outlawed in Turkey. SeeCommittee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997, pp. 53-68.

[122][122]Article10.1 grants the right of freedom of expression, while Article 10.2 outlinescases where the state may legally restrict that right. While the European Courtof Human Rights has largely ruled against Turkey in cases involving torture andforced village evacuations, it recently ruled in its favor in a case concerningArticle 10. The court ruled that Turkey had violated the rights of Mehdi Zana,the former mayor of Diyarbak-r and a Kurdish political activist, regarding theright to a fair trial and length of detention, but it rejected Zana'sallegation that his right to speech had been violated. Mr. Zana had madestatements supporting the armed struggle of the PKK. See European Court ofHuman Rights, Case of Zana v. Turkey, No. 69/1996/688/880, Judgement, Strasbourg,November 25, 1997 and "Zana'ya ret, Türkiye Ceza," ("Rejection for Zana,Punishment for Turkey"), Cumhuriyet Hafta, November 28, 1997, p. 16. Forfurther discussion of the European Court of Human Rights interpretation ofrestrictions of Article 10, see section, "INTERNATIONAL LEGAL OBLIGATIONS."

[123][123]Interviewwith Metin Üstünda-, cartoonist for the weekly Leman, Istanbul, Turkey, August1997. As of August 1997, sixty-eight out of the 300 issues of Leman publishedto date were met with some type of criminal action from state authorities.

[124][124]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997. In 1995-1996, Mr. Islamo-lu was imprisoned for one yearon free expression charges for violating The Law Concerning Crimes CommittedAgainst Atatürk/ Atatürk Aleyhine I-lenen Suçlar Hakk-nda Kanun (No. 5816).

[125][125]Interviewwith Ahmet Altan, novelist and columnist for Yeni Yüzy-l, an Istanbul daily,August 1997.

[126][126]TheTurkish Criminal Code, adopted in 1926, is based on the Italian Criminal Codeof 1889. It has been amended on many occasions, and to date approximately halfof the articles have been changed. See, Tu-rul Ansay and Don Wallace, Jr., eds,Introduction to Turkish Law (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1996), pp.163-174.

Sometimes the amendment had made the penal codearticle more severe, as with the 1981 amendment to Article 312. See section,"Domestic Law."

[127][127]BernardLewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (London: Oxford University Press, 1968),p. 304. Lewis, adds, however, that, "...Apart from this, talk, and even booksand periodicals, were comparatively free."

[128][128]KemalH. Karpat, Turkey's Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Party System(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959), p. 74.

[129][129]Ahmad,p. 106; Lewis, p. 309; Karpat, pp. 158-9.

[130][130]Karpat,pp. 158-9.

[131][131]Forexample, a law to penalize anyone who "insults or curses the memory of Atatürkwas passed in 1951. See section, Domestic Law, The Law Concerning CrimesCommitted Against Atatürk/ Atatürk Aleyhine I-lenen Suçlar Hakk-nda Kanun (No.5816, adopted July 25, 1951).

[132][132]SeeTaner Timur's essay, "The Ottoman Heritage," in Irvin C. Schick and Ertu-rulAhmet Tonak, eds, Turkey in Transition: New Perspectives (New York&Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 18.

[133][133]Constitutionof the Turkish Republic, translated for the Committee of National Unity bySad-k Balkan, Ahmet E. Uysal, and Kemal H. Karpat. Ankara, 1961; Kanun (Law)No. 1488, passed on September 20, 1971. Published in the Official Gazette, No.13964, on October 22, 1971.

[134][134]Article8 was amended in October 1995. Mr. Çali-lar's sentence was overturned. He wasretried for the same case; the verdict is still pending.

[135][135]OralÇal-lar,"Çeli-meler Ülkesi Türkiye," ("Turkey, the Land ofContradictions"), Cumhuriyet, October 28, 1996. In 1996, Mr. Kemal wasconvicted and given a suspended sentence under Article 312 for two articles hewrote that appeared in the book, Dü-ünce Özgürlü-ü ve Türkiye (Freedom ofThought and Turkey). Siyaset Meydani is a popular political talk show.

[136][136]Interview,Ankara, August 1997. Tü-alp was acquitted in March 1998.

[137][137]Barkeyand Fuller, p. 122.

[138][138]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997. The PKK declared a unilateral cease-fire in 1993.Although the state did not officially recognize the offer, there appeared to bea reduction in fighting and an easing of tension in southeastern Turkey, themain region of the conflict. The PKK ended its cease-fire in May 1993 when,after stopping a bus near Bingöl, it murdered thirty-three recently demobilizedand unarmed soldiers and five civilians.

[139][139]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[140][140]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[141][141]Thereis no bail system in Turkey. If one is charged, the prosecutor can demand thatthe suspect be remanded into custody during the trial (tutuklu) or be allowedto remain free (tutuksuz).

[142][142]Interview,Istanbul, November 1997.

[143][143]Suchpublications often have editorial policies sympathetic to armed groups, such asthe PKK or Dev-Sol.

[144][144]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997. Figure as of August 1997.

[145][145]See"Apo'dan 3 Mesaj" ("Three Messages from Apo"), Cumhuriyet, Istanbul, March 23,1991; "-am'da bir Kürt Zapata's-" ("A Kurdish Zapata in Damascus"), Cumhuriyet,Istanbul, March 24, 1991; "Apo'dan Türkiye: Siyasi, askeri birli-eevet" ("FromApo to Turkey: Yes to a Political and Military Union"), Cumhuriyet, Istanbul,March 24, 1997.

[146][146]SeeRagip Duran, "Apo91/Öcalan 94", Özgür Gündem, Istanbul, April 12, 1994.

[147][147]Accordingto Article 7.2 of the Anti-Terror Law, "Those who assist members oforganizations formed in the manner described above or who make propaganda inconnection with such an organization-even if their offense constitutes aseparate crime-are to be sentenced from one to five years and given a heavyfine from fifty to one hundred million lira."

[148][148]OnOctober 23, 1997, the High Court of Appeals (Yarg-tay), confirmed the sentence.In June 1998, Mr. Duran was remanded into custody and sent to prison. Under theAnti-Terror law, those sentenced under the Anti-Terror law must serve threequarters of their sentence.

[149][149]OnApril 11, 1991, under pressure from Mr. Özal, parliament repealed The LawConcerning Publications in Languages Other than Turkish/Türkçeden Ba-kaDillerlerle Yap-lacak Yay-nlar Hakk-nda Kanun (No. 2932). For a chronology ofthe struggle to abolish the law, see Koray Düzgören, Kürt Ç-kmaz- (The KurdishDead-end), (Istanbul: Vyay-nlar-, 1994), pp. 74-6.

[150][150]SeeDüzgören, p. 110. Mr Demirel became prime minister after the elections.

[151][151]Mr.Öcalan, for example, wrote a column in the paper under the byline of "AliF-rat," or "Ali Euphrates."

[152][152]Interview,Istanbul, August, 1997. The prosecutor issued a so-called takipsizlik decision,which means that there are no grounds for legal action.

[153][153]OralÇali-lar, Öcalan ve Burkay'la Kürt Sorunu (The Kurdish Question with Öcalan andBurkay), (Istanbul: Pencere Yay-nlar-, September 1993).

Müteferrik Karar (Banning Decision), No. 1993/297,Istanbul State Security Court No. 3, November 5, 1993. Article 28 of theconstitution states that, Anyone who writes or prints any news or articlesthreatening the internal or external security of the state or the indivisibleintegrity of the state with its territory and nation, which tend to inciteoffense, riot or insurrection, or which refer to classified state secrets andanyone who prints or transmits such news or articles to others for the abovepurpose shall be held responsible under the law relevant to these offenses...

[154][154]IstanbulState Security Court No. 1, Iddianame (Indictment) No. 1993/1061, November 26,1993. Both men were tried without being remanded into custody.


[156][156]IstanbulState Security Court No. 1, Karar (Decision), No. 1994/237, October 27, 1994.

[157][157]Thebook was banned in November 1993. October 1993 witnessed unprecedentedviolence. Between October 20-23, security forces destroyed much of the districtcapital of Lice, Diyarbak-r province, using disproportionate force following asmall clash with the PKK. Approximately 640 homes and businesses were damaged,and at least thirty people died, most of them civilians. The use of suchdisproportionate force may have been retaliation for the death of Diyarbak-rGendarmerie Regional Commander Brigadier General Bahtiyar Ayd-n, who was shotand killed in Lice on October 22, 1993. In addition, there were sixty-nineso-called "unknown actor" (faili meçhul ) death squad killings in October 1993.Many believe such attacks were carried out by shadowy groups linked to securityforces or with the connivance of state authorities.

For its part, the PKK in October 1993 murdered atleast 123 civilians, including thirty-eight in one reprisal attack against atown in the Çat district of Erzurum in retaliation for the violence in Lice. OnOctober 24, President Demirel stated that, "If these events go on like this,martial law can come on the agenda." See Duzgören, pp. 450-462; Human RightsFoundation of Turkey, 1993 Turkey Human Rights Report (Ankara, Turkey, June1994), pp. 61-64 and 77-80; Ismet G. Imset, "Fighting Separatist Terrorism,"Turkish Probe (Ankara), November 4, 1993, pp. 4-6.

[158][158]Diyarbak-rState Security Court Iddianame (Indictment), No. 1997/933, August 6, 1997. Messr.Sümbül and Konuksever were remanded into custody June 4, 1997; Miss Ba-r, onJuly 24, 1997.


[160][160]"Anter'ibiz öldürdük" ("We Killed Anter"), Demokrasi, Istanbul, February 10, 1997;"Hantepe katliam- itiraf-" ("Hantepe Massacre Confession"), Demokrasi, February11, 1997.

[161][161]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[162][162]Thereis no accurate term, either in Turkish or in English, to describe suchindividuals. For lack of a better term they are often referred to as"pro-Kurdish" or "Kurdish-nationalist." More precisely, this means that theyare unhappy with the officially monoethnic Kemalist state and want some type oflegal anchoring of their Kurdish identity. This could run from minoritylanguage and cultural rights to autonomy.

Some ethnic Kurds, however, have made peace with theKemalist state and do not seek a unique, legal recognition of their identity.All political parties, for example, have ethnic Kurdish deputies in parliament.Furthermore, intermarriage between Sunni Turks and Sunni Kurds is widespread.

[163][163]Thisis probably due not to ethnicity, but to the fact that prosecutors and courtsoften view the publications for which they write as radical and thus a greaterthreat to public order.

[164][164]Informationon Mr. Okçuo-lu came from a September 1997 interview with his brother, SelimOkçuo-lu, as well as from documents provided.

[165][165]T.C.Istanbul 2. A-r Ceza Mahkemesi, Karar 1995/4, January 19, 1995. The article wastitled, "The Turkish Republic Does Not Want to Make Peace with the Kurds,"("T.C. Kürtler'le bar-mak istemiyor), Azadi, April 11-17, 1993.

Azadi was forced to close under state pressure in1993. It is now published as Hêvi (Hope), which has an editorial policysympathetic to the Socialist Party of Kurdistan of Kemal Burkay.

[166][166]T.C.Istanbul 2. A-r Ceza Mahkemesi, Karar 1995/4, ibid.

[167][167]The book is a collection of his articles that appeared in the weekly Ayd-nl-kand in the newspaper Siyah Beyaz. His publisher, Niyazi Koçak, was charged inthe first two cases as well. Unless otherwise noted information comes from aninterview with Mr. Odaba-, Ankara, September 1997.

[168][168]T.C.Ankara Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemesi, -ddianame (Indictment) No. 1996/106, October10, 1996.

[169][169]"-airYazar Y-lmaz Odaba- yarg-land-," (The Poet-writer Y-lmaz Odaba- is on Trial)Cumhuriyet, November 20, 1996.

[170][170]PressOffice, Republic of Turkey, State Prosecutor's Office, Indictment No. 1996/167,November 20, 1996.

[171][171]LawNo. 4304, "The Law Concerning Suspension of Trials Opened Against and PenaltiesGiven to Responsible Editors," resulted in the mandatory release from prison ofa total of eight individuals, including another Özgür Gündem editor, I-kYurtçu. All eight received three-year suspended sentences.

[172][172]TheIslamist government of Necmettin Erbakan-formed in June 1996- was forced frompower in June 1997 thanks to a military-sponsored campaign. Mr. Erbakan'sWelfare Party was closed in February 1998. For more on the military, see, "TheRole of the Military."

[173][173]AtatürkAleyhine I-lenen Suçlar Hakk-nda Kanun (No. 5816, adopted July 25, 1951). Thelaw states that, "Anyone who publicly insults or curses the memory of Atatürkshall be imprisoned with a heavy sentence of between one and three years...Ifthe crimes outlined in the first article are committed by a group of two ormore individuals, or publicly, or in public districts or by means of the press,they will have the penalty imposed increased by a proportion of one-half."

[174][174]"TurkeyPlans Military-Inspired, Anti-Islamist Law," Reuters, January 28, 1998.

[175][175]"Erdo-an'a10 ay hapis" ("Ten Months Imprisonment for Erdo-an"), Cumhuriyet Hafta, April24, 1998.

[176][176]Kemal Çelik,"Erdo-an'a takipsizlik" ("Lack of Grounds for Legal Actionsagainst Erdo-an"), Milliyet (Internet Edition), February 2, 1998.

[177][177]Unlessotherwise noted, information comes from an interview with Mustafa Islamo-lu,Istanbul, August 1997.

[178][178]Republicof Turkey, Heavy Penalty Court Number One, decision No. 1994/31, February 15,1994.

[179][179]Selamhas a pro-Iranian editorial policy.

[180][180]The defense makes reference to the memoirs of Fethi Okyar, Üç Devirde bir Adam(One Man in Three Epochs), published in 1980. Mustafa Kemal had asked Mr. Okyarto found an opposition party. Authorities, however, quickly closed the partyMr. Okyar founded, the Free Republican Party, shortly after its opening in1930.

[181][181]T-HV,Türkiye'de Bas-n Özgürlü-ü (Press Freedom in Turkey), March 1998, p. 12. Seealso section, "The Confiscation of Publications and Books and the Closing ofNewspapers." In a related case, Mr. Koral was sentenced to two years, commutedinto a fine, for another article he wrote, and Selam was closed for one month.

[182][182]"TurkishCourt Convicts Journalist," Associated Press, March 5, 1998.

[183][183]Seesection, "Self-Censorship."

[184][184]OnJanuary 15, 1997, ten individuals, most of them high-school students fromManisa, were found guilty of membership in an illegal organization despiteserious allegations that incriminating statements they gave while in policedetention were taken under torture. Those statements provided the basis of thestate's case. Five others were acquitted in the case.

Article 159 punishes, "those who publicly insult orridicule the moral personality of Turkishness, the Republic, the Parliament,the Government, State Ministers, the military or security forces of the state,or the Judiciary."

[185][185]UmurTalu, "Iskence, Cop, Cep,"( "Torture, Truncheon, and Pocket Telephone,")Milliyet (Internet Edition), January 18, 1997.

[186][186]SerpilGündüz and Miyase -lknur, "Dü-ünce sözde özgür" ("So-called Freedom ofExpression"), Cumhuriyet, October 25, 1996. Altan stated that, "Ben istiyorum ki,devlet çete olmaktan ç-k-p, hukuka otursun."

[187][187]Article312.1 prohibits and penalizes those who "openly praise an action consideredcriminal" and Article 312.2 punishes those who "openly incite people to enmityand hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious, confessional, or regionaldifference."

[188][188]Inthe column, "Atakürt" ("Father Kurd"), Mr. Altan turned the founding myth ofthe Turkish republic on its head. Instead of Turks, according to Mr. Altan,Kurds founded the republic and in gratitude named their leader "Father Kurd," aplay on the title granted to Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk ("Father Turk"). In Mr.Altan's spoof, Turks are referred to as "Sea Kurds" and forbidden to use theirlanguage. Throughout the 1980s, Kurds were often dismissed as "mountain Turks."Mr. Altan was given a one year eight month suspended sentence in October 1995along with a TL500,000 (U.S. $10) fine.

[189][189]Interview,Istanbul, November 1997.

[190][190]M.Mete Göktürk, "Yarg- içinde yarg-s-z infaz yap-l-yor!" ("Extrajudicial Acts areCommitted Inside the Judiciary!"), Yeni Yüzy-l, October 14, 1996.Mr. Göktürkalso criticized the fact that HSYK decisions cannot be appealed

Mr.Göktürk is also a gifted political cartoonist whosedrawings are collected in Karikatür Albümü: Sen I-ine Bak.

[191][191]Decisionnumber 1997/32, Beyo-lu Heavy Penalty Court No. 1, March 18, 1997.

[192][192]Seesection, "VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS: Political Killings."

[193][193]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[194][194]Thevillagers later appealed to the European Court of Human Rights of the Councilof Europe in Strasbourg. The court found Turkey guilty of violating theEuropean Convention on Human Rights and ordered it to pay damages to thevillagers.

[195][195]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[196][196]Mostof those killed worked for radical far-left papers or for Kurdish-nationalistpublications with an editorial policy sympathetic to the PKK, such as ÖzgürGündem or one of its predecessors or successor publications. For a morein-depth discussion, see section, "VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS: PoliticalKillings."

[197][197]"ÖzgürGündem Bids Farewell,"Turkish Probe, Ankara, January 19, 1993. For a period ofabout three years, from 1991-1994, the English-language daily Turkish DailyNews provided the best day-to-day coverage on the conflict in southeasternTurkey. -smet -mset, forced into political exile in London after running afoulof authorities, provided much of this reporting.

[198][198]Interview,Ankara, August 1997. Journalists have the right to carry a gun in Turkey. Mr.Odaba- relates his experiences in the book, To be a Journalist in the Southeast(Güneydo-u'da Gazeteci Olmak), published in 1994.

[199][199]See"Domestic Law."

[200][200]Emergencyrule was declared on July 14, 1987, when decree (KHK) No. 285 was published inthe Official Gazette. At present, Diyarbak-r, Hakkari, Siirt, -irnak, Tunceli,and Van provinces are under a state of emergency.

[201][201]Suchdecrees have the force of law (KHK-Kanun hükmünde kararname). They become lawwhen approved by parliament and published in the Official Gazette.

[202][202]For information on Decree 413, see Helsinki Watch, "News from Turkey," June1990, p. 2. Decree 413 was later superseded by Decrees 424, 425, and finally byDecree 430, which softened some of the harsher aspects of the earlier decrees,such as abolishing the penalty of indefinite closure of a printing house thatviolates the decree. See Kürt Ç-kmaz-, p. 57 and Department of State, CountryReport on Human Rights Practices for 1990, (Washington, D.C.: United StatesGovernment Printing Office, 1991), p. 1294.

[203][203]Inhis book, Kürt Ç-kmaz- (Kurdish Dead-end), Koray Düzgören publishes severalstories that he wrote at the time but which could not be published in the nowdefunct daily Güne- because of Decree 413.

[204][204]Türkiye-nsan Haklar- Raporu 1991 (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, January1992), p. 16.

[205][205]Foran explanation of police-press relations and police violence against the press,see "Violence against Journalists: Beatings."

[206][206]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[207][207]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[208][208]Interviewwith Fehmi I-k, editor of Hêvi, Istanbul, August 1997. For more on Hêvi, see,"Restrictions on the Use of the Kurdish Language."

[209][209]TürkiyeKay-p Dü-ler.

In May 1998, after an assassination attempt againstAkin Birdal, the head of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, the ERNK, thepolitical wing of the PKK, made the following threat against arch-conservativeHürriyet columnist Emin Çöla-an, Kemalist -lhan Selçuk of the daily Cumhuriyet,and the chairman of the Press Council of Turkey, Oktay Ek-i: "In the future, wewill not be so hesitant in using our right of defense." "PKK'dan ÇirkinTehdit," Hürriyet (Internet Edition), May 14, 1998.

[210][210]"ConsolidatingIts Hold: PKK Bans Press in Southeast," Turkish Probe, Ankara, October 26,1993, p. 6.


[212][212]ThePKK ban did not include the Kurdish-nationalist Özgür Gündem. That publication,however, had its own problems in the form of police harassment and shadowydeath squads.

The ban was reportedly lifted a month or so after itsimposition. By mid-1994, most of the closed news bureaus had reopened.

[213][213]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[214][214]Interview,Bursa, November 1997.

[215][215]TürkiyeKay-p Dü-ler. Kutlu Esendemir and Levent Öztürk, both working for TGRT statetelevision, were kidnapped on January 26, 1994, and not released until April26, 1994.

[216][216]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[217][217]Mr.Gürsel wrote an excellent book about his experience that provides valuableinsights into the motivations and tactics of PKK fighters and units. See,Da-dakiler (Those in the Mountains), (Istanbul: Siyahbeyaz Series, MetisPublishing, June 1996).

[218][218]Forexample, "37 PKK'li öldürüldü" ("37 PKK Members Killed"), Milliyet (InternetEdition), June 9, 1998. The story states that, "In a statement made yesterdayby the State of Emergency Region Governor's Office, 23 terrorists were killedin the Kelmehmet mountain region of -rnak...for a total of 37 terroristskilled." It gives no analysis of the information or additional sources toconfirm official statements. Consequently casualty figures reported by themilitary-along with those announced by the PKK-enjoy little credibility.

[219][219]See"Tunceli'de tenis," ("Tennis in Tunceli"), Hürriyet, August 28, 1997. Amountainous region bordering northeast and southeast Anatolia, Tunceli haswitnessed heavy fighting since 1993 and suffered wide-scale displacement, mostthe result of the military's counterinsurgency campaign. According to the 1990census, Tunceli province had a population of 133,143. In 1997, its populationhad shrunk to 82,535. While the province has been losing population for yearsbecause of economic migration, the majority of the population decline in the1990-97 period is due to the conflict.

[220][220]A.Ressak Oral, "-imdi de geriye dönü- s-k-nt-s-" ("Even Now There is a Problemwith the Return"), Milliyet, July 28, 1995.

A good example of such journalism is the "Let's GoSoutheast" press campaign initiated by the mainstream daily Milliyet in thesummer of 1998. The reporting deals with issues that are considered safe, suchas unemployment and under-development. It does little, however, to explore theethnic or political aspects of the conflict.

[221][221]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[222][222]See,Celal Y-lmaz, "Halk Özel Timi Suçluyor" ("The People Blame the Special Teams"),Cumhuriyet Hafta, November 11, 1996, and "Vartolu ilçeyi terk ediyor" ("ThePeople of Varto are Abandoning Their District"), Cumhuriyet Hafta, December 5,1996.

See Hikmet Çetinkaya, "Mazlum!...," Cumhuriyet Hafta,August 23, 1996. In a black twist, "Mazlum," the murdered man's name, means"oppressed."

[223][223]Interviewwith Stephen Kinzer, Istanbul, August 1997; "American Reporter Detained byTurks," Associated Press, March 1997. Mr. Kinzer had participated in amilitary-organized press tour and then stayed on in the region after theofficial tour ended.

[224][224]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997. Anatolian News Agency is the semi-official wireservice.

[225][225]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[226][226]InTurkish law, a distinction is made between "periodicals" (mevkute or süreli)and all other types of publication (süresiz or mevkute tan-m-na girmeyenbas-lm- eserler). The law makes this distinction to enable prosecutors todetermine criminal responsibility where there is no responsible editor. Seealso Article 16 of the Press Law in the Appendix.

By law, a printer must bring all published materialafter its release to the Collection Office of the Security Directorate (DerlemeBürosu). The publication is registered, quickly scanned, and sent on to thestate prosecutor if it is believed to have violated the law. Stephen Kinzer,the New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, interviewed a state official whoculls the press for offending articles. See "A Terror to Journalists, He SniffsOut Terrorists," New York Times, September 1, 1997.

[227][227]Article28.5 of the constitution states that,

...By taking the proper measures, distribution is stoppedby a judge's decision; in situations where problems could arise because of adelay, [distribution] can also be prevented by the order of an authority soempowered by the law. The proper authority that prevented publication mustinform the relevant judge within twenty-four hours. If the relevant judge doesnot confirm this order at the latest within forty-eight hours, the decisionpreventing publication is invalid...

Additional Article 1 of the Press Law states that,

The distribution of any type of periodical ornon-periodical publication that contains crimes outlined in the Second Book,first chapter, 1st, 2nd, and fourth paragraphs or in Articles 311 or 312 orsecret information belonging to the state can be prevented by the decision of alocal justice of the peace judge (sulh ceza) or, in cases where delay wouldcause a problem, by the written decision of a local republican prosecutor'soffice. The republican prosecutor's office must inform the police courtmagistrate of its decision at the latest within twenty-four hours. At thelatest within forty-eight hours the police court magistrate will give adecision either confirming or overturning this decision. In case ofnon-approval, the decision of the state prosecutor's office is invalid...

[228][228]Article28.7 of the constitution states that,

Periodicals and non-periodical publications can beconfiscated by a judge's decision in those circumstances when the crimesinvestigation has started and by the order of an authority so empowered by thelaw in cases of protecting the state's indivisible unity with the country andnation, national security, public order, general morality, and with the goal ofpreventing a crime where problems could arise because of a delay. The properauthority that gave the confiscation order must inform the relevant judgewithin twenty-four hours. If the relevant judge does not confirm this order atthe latest within forty-eight hours, the decision preventing publication isinvalid...

[229][229]Article28.10 of the constitution states that,

By court order, periodicals that are published inTurkey and are sentenced in cases dealing with the state's indivisible unitywith its country and state, the basic principles of the republic, nationalsecurity, or violation of general morality can be temporarily closed. Everypublication that is openly the continuation of a closed periodical isforbidden; such periodicals can be confiscated by a judge's decision.

[230][230]AdditionalArticle 2 states that,

A periodical publication can be closed by a court fora period of three days to one month if that publication is sentenced for crimesoutlined in additional Article 1, or for behavior contradictory to nationalsecurity or general morality. Every type of publication that is openly acontinuation of a closed periodical is forbidden. One who continues to publisha closed publication or who publishes a new periodical that is clearly thecontinuation of a closed publication according to the first paragraph will bepunished with imprisonment of one to six months and a heavy fine of from100,000 to 300,000 lira.

[231][231]Under provisional Article 15 of the constitution, legislation cannot be foundunconstitutional that was passed between the coup of September 12, 1980, andthe convening of parliament after the first post-coup elections which were heldin 1983. Such legislation can only be changed if the government passes a law toreplace or amend it.

[232][232]RSF, Rapport Annuel 1997, Internet Edition.


[234][234]RSF, Rapport Annuel 1998, Internet Edition.

[235][235]IstanbulState Security Court No. 2, Confiscation Order, 1997/310, September 8, 1997.

[236][236]"ÜlkedeGündem Newspaper Closed for Ten Days," Turkish Daily News, Internet Edition,May 12, 1998; Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Daily Bulletin, May 11, 1998.

[237][237]Thebook was confiscated on June 4, 1996, allegedly because it violated Article 426of the penal code. That provision punishes one who, in the press or in theateror film, "offends the public's sense of shame and modesty or incites andexploits sexual desires... ." One offending statement from the book containedthe phrase, "I'm forty and my you-know-what still can get as hard as a rockupon waking." Upon appeal, a court overturned the confiscation order threeweeks later. See a short pamphlet Mr. Y-lmaz published, Hukuk Sergüze-ti (ALegal Adventure), which contains the confiscation order, his defense, expertwitness testimony, and the court order overturning the confiscation.

[238][238]Seealso, "The Role of the Media"

[239][239]TheRepublic of Armenia, diaspora Armenians, and some Westerners refer to theseevents as a "genocide." Most Western scholars of the Ottoman Empire acknowledgethe expulsion of Armenian communities from eastern Anatolia and the subsequentmassacre of many of those uprooted, but point to the fact that it is unclear inthe absence of archival proof whether the act was "genocide." For its part, thegovernment of Turkey and some scholars argue that communal violence took thelives of Muslims and Armenians alike.

Until the government of Turkey allows full andunhindered access to Ottoman archives, no definitive answer can be reached,including on the number of those killed.

[240][240]Interview,Diyarbak-r, September 1997.

[241][241]Interview,Istanbul, September 1997.

[242][242]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[243][243]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[244][244]Seealso, "The Role of the Media."

[245][245]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[246][246]Interview,Istanbul, September 1997.

[247][247]Interview,Istanbul, November 1997. The columnist asked not to be identified. Acoalition-government led by the Welfare Party was forced to resign underintense military pressure on June 18, 1997. In early 1998, the party was bannedand its leader, Mr. Necmettin Erbakan, along with several other leaders, werebanned from politics for five years. See also, "The Role of the Military."

[248][248]Interview,September 1997 in Turkey. The individual asked not to be identified.

[249][249]Interview,Istanbul, September 1997.

Sabah and Hürriyet are mainstream papers whosecoverage is often crudely nationalistic and blindly pro-state regarding theconflict in southeastern Turkey. In both papers, however, individual columnistsand journalists can and do take a critical, hard-hitting line on sensitiveissues. Ülkede Gündem, now banned, adopted an editorial line that initially wascritical in general and later became sympathetic to the goals if not the methodsof the PKK.

[250][250]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[251][251]Interviewwith Koray Düzgören, Istanbul, August 1997.

[252][252]Interview,Ankara, August 1997.

[253][253]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[254][254]G.A.Res. 47/135, U.N. GAOR, 47th Sess., 3d Comm., Annex, U.N. Doc. a/47/678/Add.2(1992).

[255][255](European)Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, art.14. This provision echoes Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights, which enumerates "language" as an impermissible ground fordiscrimination.

[256][256]"BelgiumLinguistic" Cases, 11 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on Human Rights 832 (1968), p. 942.

[257][257]Forrelated decisions of the U.N. Human Rights Committee, see, for example,Ballantyne, Davidson and McIntyre v. Canada, Comm. Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989,U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/47/D/359/1989 (1993) (finding that Quebec's restrictions onlanguages permitted in outdoor advertising violate international protections onfreedom of expression).

[258][258]SeeSub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,Study on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Ethnic, Religious and LinguisticMinorities, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/384/Rev.1 (1979).

[259][259]U.N.Doc. E/CN.4/1993/45 (1993), para.1993/9.

[260][260]Since the abolition of Law No. 2932 in April 1991, no law prohibits publishingbooks or newspapers in Kurdish or other non-Turkish languages.


[262][262]ATurkish saying states that, "In Turkey there are seventy-two and a half people"("Türkiye'de yetmi- iki buçuk millet var"). The phrase captures the ethnicmosaic of Turkey's population, which, aside from Turks, ranges from Kurds andArabs living in Anatolia for hundreds of years to Chechens and Circassians whofled Tsarist persecution in the nineteenth century.

[263][263]Estimatesregarding the size of Turkey's ethnic Kurdish population range from 10 to 20percent of the populace. The last attempt to ascertain information concerningethnicity and religion occurred in the early 1960s. The Ministry of Works andSettlement (-mar ve -skân Bakanl-) and the Village Affairs Ministry ( Köy -leriBakanl-) conducted a nationwide survey of villages, The Village Inventory (KöyEnvanteri), in which questions concerning language and religion were posed.After data for one province was released, however, the study was repressed. SeePeter Alfred Andrews, ed., Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey (Wiesbaden:Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1989), pp. 18, 42-44.

[264][264]Thefact that Turkey's ethnic Kurdish population is far from monolithic furthercomplicates counting them. Martin Van Bruinessen, a leading scholar of theKurds, notes that, "There is, then, no unambiguous ethnic boundary separatingKurds from non-Kurds, and in the course of even recent history the boundariesas perceived by various groups have shifted. Large numbers of people havemoreover purposively crossed what they perceived as the major ethnic boundary,not only individually, as is wont to happen virtually everywhere, but in manycases collectively." See Martin Van Bruinessen, "The Ethnic Identity of theKurds," p. 616, in Andrews.

[265][265]Linguisticand ethnic plurality had been the rule, however, in the Ottoman Empire. Onescholar has noted that, "No attempt had been made to force Ottoman subjects tospeak Turkish-in 1800 a large majority did not speak it as their first languageand perhaps most Ottoman subjects did not speak it at all. Serbs spoke Serbian,Greeks spoke Greek, Bulgarians spoke Bulgarian, Arabs spoke Arabic."

The Ottoman state was based on Islamic principles, notnationalism. The Sultan's non-Muslim subjects were divided according to religioninto a millet system that allowed minorities to control their own affairs, suchas education, welfare, and civil law. While legally inferior to Muslims andunder a heavier tax burden in lieu of performing military service, Christiansand Jews, as so-called "People of the Book," (dhimmis), were afforded religiousand other protections. See, Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Turks (London and NewYork: Longman), especially pp. 106-8, 127-31, and 205-6.

[266][266]Thegenesis of a new state can be found in the National Pact (Misak-I Millî),adopted in January 1920. That document, among other things, called for anindivisible state for the "Ottoman Muslim majority." The fate of territorieshaving an Arab majority would be decided by plebiscite. With the exception of theoil-rich Mosul province, the Republic of Turkey fits largely in the bordersenvisioned by the National Pact. Zürcher, pp. 143-4.

[267][267]Andrews,p. 35.

[268][268]Theonly exception, of course, would be the non-Muslim minorities (Greek, Jewish,Armenian) given special linguistic and cultural rights under the 1923 Treaty ofLausanne.

[269][269]Signedon July 23, 1923, with the major Allied Powers of World War I, the Treaty ofLausanne recognized the new state created in what Turks call, "The War ofNational Liberation," a four-year struggle led by Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk. Amongother things, the treaty envisioned a population exchange between Greece andTurkey, whereby the majority of Turks in Greece and the majority of Greeks inTurkey would move to their nominal country of origin. The treaty, however,allowed the Greeks of Istanbul and the Turks of Western Thrace to remain intheir homes and granted them certain linguistic, cultural, and religious rightsoutlined in Articles 37-45 of the treaty. Consequently, the Turkish state acknowledgedno minorities aside from the non-Muslim minorities (Greeks, Jews, andArmenians) mentioned in the treaty.

An official explanation of Article 81 of the PoliticalParty Law, which is titled "Preventing the Creation of Minorities," statesthat, "Aside from those minorities recognized in the Treaty of Lausanne, thereare no minorities in our country. In a particular country, the knowledge ofsome languages other than the official one or [the fact of those languages]being spoken from place to place does not create a minority." See Osman SelimKocahano-lu, Gerekçeli Siyasi Partiler ve Seçim Mevzuat- (Annotated PoliticalParties and Election Body of Laws), (Istanbul:Temel Yay-nlar-, 1994), p. 68.

[270][270]VanBruinessen, p. 619.

[271][271]Zürcher,p. 178.

[272][272]Andrews,p. 34. The banning of Kurdish as a language of publication occurred almost atthe same time as the switch to a modified Latin alphabet. Parliament passed alaw to that effect on November 1, 1928, to be implemented as of January 1,1929. According to the 1927 census, the literacy rate in Turkey was 9 percent.See Ahmad, p. 81.

[273][273]Article 2/d/2 of the 1949 Provincial Administration Law No. 5442 (-l IdaresiKanunu) was amended in 1959 to state that, "Village names that are not Turkishand give rise to confusion are to be changed in the shortest possible time bythe Interior Ministry after receiving the opinion of the Provincial PermanentCommittee."

[274][274]Fora good accounting of this process, see Kiri-ci and Winroth, pp. 102-108. Theauthors argue that, "...In the 1930s great efforts were expended to prove thatKurds were Turks... according to this, Kurds were comprised of Turks who to agreat extent had changed their language..."

Oddly enough, all three Turkish constitutions haveconspicuously avoided linking Turkish ethnicity with citizenship. Article 88 ofthe 1924 Constitution stated that, "In Turkey, from the point of view ofcitizenship, everyone is a Turk without regard to race or religion." Article 54of the 1961 Constitution stated that, "Every individual who is bound to theTurkish state by ties of citizenship is a Turk." Article 66 of the presentconstitution, adopted in 1982, states that, "Everyone bound to the TurkishState through the bond of citizenship is a Turk."

[275][275]Theearly authors of Turkish nationalism envisioned no iron link between Turkishethnicity and Turkish nationalism, i.e. citizenship in the Republic of Turkey.In his 1920 work The Principles of Türkism, Ziya Gökalp, the father of modernTurkish nationalism, wrote that,

...since race has no relationship to social traits,neither can it have any with nationality, which is the sum total of solidarity rests on cultural unity, which istransmitted by means of education and therefore has no relationship withconsanguinity...a nation is not a racial or ethnic or geographic or politicalor volitional group but one composed of individuals who share a commonlanguage, religion, morality, or aesthetics, that is to say, who have receivedthe same education.

See Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism (Ankara,1920, translated by Robert Devereux, Leiden, 1968), pp. 12-15 as quoted byDavid McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I.B. Taurus, 1996), p.189.

In fact, Gökalp was himself most likely a Kurd, bornand raised in Diyarbak-r.

[276][276]Atthe time, some saw the logical contradiction in using the identity of aspecific ethnic group (Turks) as the national identity in a multi-ethnicrepublic. A short-lived "Anatolian" movement sought to adopt the geographicterm "Anatolia" and "Anatolian" in place of "Turkey and "Turks." See Andrews,p. 35.

[277][277]Kurdin Turkish is spelled "Kürt." Hugh and Nicole Pope, "Turkey Unveiled: Atatürkand After." (London: John Murray, 1997), pp. 251-2.

The author of this report was told a similar story in1987 by a Turkish friend who had completed military service in 1984 nearErzincan, a mixed Turkish-Kurdish area.

[278][278]Ethnicconflict in the former Soviet Union, especially in Abkhazia and Chechnya, alsohelped to strengthen ethnic sentiment among non-Turks in Turkey. See a seriesthat ran in the now-closed newspaper Güne- (Istanbul), "Öbür denizin çocuklar-ya da Ad-ler" (The Children of the other Sea, or Adygei"), August 22, 1990. Oneof those interviewed refers to himself as an "assimilated Circassian." See alsoa piece about the war in Abkhazia, Nebil Özgentürk, "Kafda-n-n etekleri:Abhazya" ("The foothills of Caucasus Mountains: Abkhazia"), Sabah (Istanbul),October 4, 1992, and also a thoughtful essay by Thomas Goltz on Circassians andChechens in Turkey in the wake of conflict in Chechnya, "The Turkish CarpetFrays," The Washington Post, January 28, 1996, p. C2. In the spring of 1995,the intellectual journal Birikim devoted a whole issue to ethnic minorities inTurkey, Etnik Kimlik ve Az-nl-klar (Ethnic Identity and Minorities), No. 71-2,March-April 1995.

[279][279]SeveralKurdish-language music videos were played on inter-city buses while the authorof this report was traveling in southeastern Turkey in the summer of 1997.

[280][280]Do-uSorunu: Te-hisler ve Tesbitler (The Eastern Question: Diagnosis andAscertations), TOBB, July 1995. The report was sponsored by the Turkish Chamberof Commerce and written by Professor Do-u Ergil.

[281][281]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997. In 1991, a group of individuals tried to registerofficially as the Sheik Said Foundation, in honor of a Kurdish tribal leaderwho led a revolt in 1925. When that request was rejected, they tried again in1994 as the "Kurdish Institute." According to Mr. Beyaz, the court rejected thenew name under Article 34b of a secret National Security Council directive (MGKgenelgesi). The contents of the directive were not revealed to Mr. Beyaz or hislawyer. Undeterred, they founded the Mesopotamian Printing and PublishingLimited Company (Mezopotamya Bas-n ve Yay-n A.-.).

[282][282]Interview,Ankara, August 1997. He is presently the leader of the Democratic Mass Party(DKP). In April 1979, Mr. Elçi stated in parliament that, "There are Kurds inTurkey. I am a Kurd." Article 142, now abolished, criminalized a number ofactions, including conducting "propaganda with the purpose of establishing thedomination of one social class over another..or to eliminate or weakennationalist feelings..."

[283][283]Article 42.9 states that, "No language other than Turkish shall be taught as amother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institution of training or education."The Treaty of Lausanne, however, allows instruction in Greek and Armenian, andthe constitution recognizes this provision.

[284][284]Decision No. 92/2788, Official Gazette, March 20, 1992. Oddly enough, thenow-abolished Law No. 2932, "The Law Concerning Publications and Broadcasts inLanguages Other than Turkish," was more liberal regarding teaching foreignlanguages. Article 2 of that law stated that, " Apart from the first officiallanguage of states recognized by the Turkish State, the release, propagation,or publication of thoughts in any other language is prohibited."

[285][285]Theofficial name of the foundation in Kurdish and Turkish is Weqfa Lêkolin û ÇandaKurdi/ Kürt Kültür ve Ara-t-rma Vakf-. After a four-year legal battle, thefoundation won the right to use the word "Kurdish" in its official title in aJanuary 16, 1996, decision by the High Appeals Court (Yarg-tay).

A Kürt-Kav member explained that, "We founded ourinstitute in 1992, ninety-eight of us. We are not ideological-our goal is tobuild civil society by studying and teaching the Kurdish culture and language.It took us four years of struggle to get the right to have the name ‘Kurdish'in our title." According to Kürt-Kav's statute, its main goal is "research onfundamental rights and freedoms (and) research and investigation in the areasof the Kurdish language, culture, and history."

[286][286]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[287][287]T.C.Milli E-itim Bakanl- Hukuk Mü-avirli-i (Republic of Turkey, Ministry ofEducation, Legal Department), Correspondence No. 97-200=11=897=12586.

[288][288]"TurkCourt Acquits Two in Kurdish Courses Case," Reuters, May 5, 1998. Ironically,the Istanbul State Security Court uses Kürt-Kav to provide transcription andtranslation of Kurdish-language documents.

[289][289]Ne-eDüzel, "Pazartesi Konu-malar-" ("Monday Chats"), Yeni Yüzy-l (Istanbul),Internet edition, April 27, 1997. Dr. Y-ld-r-m also stated that 61 percent ofwomen in the region were illiterate.

In a ground breaking survey of Turkish Kurds releasedin 1995, 68.5 percent stated that they spoke Kurdish at home, while 15.1percent reported speaking Turkish and 14.2 percent stated that they spoke bothTurkish and Kurdish. The sample consisted of 1,267 individuals (Diyarbak-r,237; Batman, 188; Mardin, 219; Adana, 188; Mersin, 185; Antalya, 250). See,Do-u Sorunu, pp. 12-13.

[290][290]Accordingto a report put out by the Turkish Medical Association (Türk TabipleriBirli-i), half of the doctors working at health facilities in Diyarbak-r neededa third person to communicate with patients. Sixty-seven percent of midwivesand nurses stated that they had language problems even when administeringsimple procedures, like vaccinations. See, Turkish Medical Association, TheReport on the Health Services and Health Personnel Problems in the Southeast,Ankara, March 1995, pp. 44-48.

[291][291]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[292][292]Perspectiveson Democratization in Turkey, pp. 172-4.

[293][293]Accordingto the survey, 60.1 percent believed that every ethnic group should be able toobtain an education in its native tongue if its members so chose. 12.6 percentpreferred Turkish language instruction, while 3.6 percent wanted only Kurdish.Economic realities, however, played a role. Most acknowledged that neitherTurkish nor Kurdish would be sufficient as a language in the global economy.This view was summed up in the phrase, "If the prohibition is removed, very fewwould send their children to Kurdish schools. Would they let their kids beunemployed?" See Do-u Sorunu, pp. 43-44.

[294][294]PoliticalParties Law/ Siyasi Partiler Kanunu (No. 2820, adopted April 26, 1983) inKocahano-lu, p. 68 and pp. 100-101.

Part Four of the Political Parties Law deals with,"Prohibitions concerning Political Parties." It is divided into Section One(Article 78), "Prohibitions concerning Goals and Activities" and Section Two(Articles 79-83), "Defending the Qualities of the Nation-State."

[295][295]TheLaw Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and Voter Registries/Seçimlerin Temel Hükümleri ve Seçmen Kütükleri Hakk-nda Kanun (No. 298, AdoptedApril 26, 1961), reprinted by State authority Kocahano-lu, pp. 252-253.

[296][296]Banned parties include the following: Socialist Party (Sosyalist Partisi-SP),October 25, 1992; People's Labor Party (Halk-n Emek Partisi-HEP), July 14, 1993;Freedom and Democracy Party (Özgürlük ve Demokrasi Partisi-ÖZDEP), November 23,1993; Democracy Party (Demokrasi Partisi-DEP), June 30, 1994; Socialist UnionParty (Sosyalist Birlik Partisi-SBP), July 19, 1995; Democracy and Change Party(De-isim ve Demokrasi Partisi-DDP), 1996.

HEP, ÖZDEP, DEP, and the present People's DemocracyParty (Halk-n Demokrasi Partisi-HADEP), are continuations of each other. Eachnew party was formed as the previous one was closed by the ConstitutionalCourt.

In addition, members of these parties often facedcriminal proceedings for free expression that is protected under internationallaw. In December 1994, eight former DEP parliamentarians were convicted "ofbeing members of an outlawed armed group" and "aiding and abetting" such agroup in a trial fraught with procedural irregularities. Four are stillimprisoned. All have appealed their case to the European Court of Human Rightsin Strasbourg.

Unless otherwise noted, information in this paragraphcomes from the annual reports of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (Türkiye-nsan Haklar- Vakf-T-HV). See 1992 Türkiye -nsan Haklar- Raporu (1992 TurkeyHuman Rights Report), (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, January1993), pp. 189-99;1993 Türkiye -nsan Haklar- Raporu (1993 Turkey Human RightsReport), (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, June 1994), pp. 303-5;1994 Turkey Human Rights Report (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey,September 1995), pp. 348-355; 1995 Türkiye -nsan Haklar- Raporu (1995 Turkey HumanRights Report), (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, February 1997), pp.394-406.

[297][297]In1991, in an election alliance with the Social Democratic Populist Party (SosyalDemokrat Halkç- Parti-SHP), twenty-two HEP parliamentarians were elected from theHEP-SHP list, all from southeastern Turkey. HEP was formed in 1990 after sixethnic Kurdish deputies from SHP were ejected from the party for attending anOctober 1989 conference in Paris titled, "Kurds: Human Rights and CulturalIdentity." The Kurdish Institute of Paris sponsored the conference.

When HEP was closed eighteen former deputies joinedDEP. When DEP was closed it had thirteen deputies in Parliament; eight, asmentioned, were put on trial, and five fled abroad. HADEP, DEP's successor,contested the December 1995 parliamentary elections and won 4.5 percent of thevote, but could not pass the 10 percent parliamentary barrier.

[298][298]Interviewwith Bülent Tanör, Istanbul, August 1997. In his report for TÜS-AD, Mr. Tanörwrote that, "The provisions of this article (Article 81) are dramatic from thepoint of respect for logic and culture...The democratic and rational approachrequires that political parties seeking to represent different ethnic andreligious identities, on the condition that they are not separatist, should notbe excluded from the system but included." See Perspectives on Democratization,pp. 45-46.

[299][299]Iddianame,(Indictment), SP.91 Hz.1997/138. The prosecutor alleges that the party hasviolated the preamble and Articles 2 ,3, 14, 68, and 136 of the constitution aswell as Articles 78, 80, 81, and 89 of the Political Parties Law. See pp. 72-3.

[300][300]Mr.Elçi complained that,

In Europe, there is a new movement: protectingregionalism, protecting difference, but then joining together. Look at Spain andCatalonia...There has been a serious change in the world. The bipolar world isover. The European Union gives importance to minorities and to regionaldifferences. Whether Turkey wants to or not they are affected...The benefit ofclosing our party is not understandable by rationality. Powers in the statewant a hard-line approach...[there is] a paradox about the state fighting thePKK. If they were serious, they would not interfere with democratic,non-violent movements like ours that defend the unity of the state...the statedoesn't want the voice of Kurds to be raised even in a peaceful, westernfashion it seems.

Interview, Ankara, September 1997.

[301][301]DemokratikKitle Partisi Program- (Program of the Democratic Mass Party), pp. 3 and 32-3.Cited in the indictment, pp. 5 and 8-9. SP.91 Hz.1997/138 as pp. 3 and 32-3.

[302][302]"Elçi'deneyalet çözümü" ("Decentralization solution from Elçi"), Cumhuriyet, January 4,1997, p. 5, cited in the indictment, SP.91 Hz.1997/138, p. 15.

[303][303]"Gelece-eumutla bak-yorum," ("I'm Positive About the Future"), Milliyet, February 10,1997, cited in the indictment, SP.91 Hz.1997/138, p. 18.

On December 8, 1991, while on a trip to southeasternTurkey with his coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Erdal Inönü, thenewly-elected prime minister, Suleyman Demirel, announced that "Turkey hadrecognized the Kurdish reality." See Düzgören, pp. 123-4.

[304][304]Indictment, SP.91 Hz.1997/138, p. 68. Italics added. The prosecutor is in errorby stating that there are no prohibited languages. Restrictions still exist inbroadcasting and education.

[305][305]SeçimlerinTemel Hükümleri ve Seçmen Kütükleri Hakk-nda Kanun (no. 298, adopted April 26,1961), reprinted in Kocahano-lu, pp. 252-53.

[306][306]T.C.A-r- Cumhuriyet Ba-savc-l-, Iddianame, (Republic of Turkey, A-r- Republic HeadProsecution Office, Indictment), No. 1996/9, January 11, 1996.

Interview with Mr. Basut, Istanbul, August 1997.

[307][307]Article2 of the law, for example, stated that, "Aside from the first official languageof states recognized by the Turkish State, the announcing, disseminating, orpublishing of thoughts in any language is forbidden." Article 3a stated that,"The use of any language but Turkish as a mother tongue or being engaged in anytype of activity of its dissemination is forbidden." Article 23e of theAnti-Terror Law (No. 3713), passed on April 12, 1991, abolished Law No. 2932.

[308][308]Article28.2 of the constitution states that, "Publication shall not be made in anylanguage prohibited by law..."

Article 26 states that,

No language prohibited by law shall be used in theexpression and dissemination of thought. Any written or printed documents,phonograph records, magnetic or video tapes, and other means of expression usedin contravention of this provision shall be seized by a duly issued decision ofa judge or, in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, by the competentauthority designated by law.

[309][309]Article4t of the RTÜK Law, "Broadcasting Principles," states that, "Radio andtelevision broadcasts will be made in Turkish; however, for the purpose of teachingor of imparting news those foreign languages that have made a contribution tothe development of universal cultural and scientific works can be used." SeeAppendix for a text of the law.

State television has nightly newscasts in English,German, and French, and any number of foreign language channels are availablethrough cable television.

[310][310]Interviewwith Koray Düzgören, Istanbul, August 1997.

[311][311]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[312][312]YalmanOnaran, A Heavy Film, Associated Press, January 31, 1998.

[313][313]NevzatBingöl operated the first television station that broadcast both music andpolitical programming in Kurdish. Based in Diyarbak-r, the station closed in1997 under both political and economic pressure. See Amberin Zaman, "KurdishBroadcasting," Voice of America, July 31, 1998.

[314][314]"Pazartesi Konu-malar-" ("Monday Chats"), op. cit. In an August 1997 interviewwith Human Rights Watch, Dr. Hikmet Sami Türk, state minister for human rights,also expressed support for allowing Kurdish-language broadcasting.

Presently transmitting via satellite from the UnitedKingdom, MED-TV broadcasts several hours of programming a day overwhelminglysympathetic to the PKK and its struggle. Many Kurds throughout Turkey watch MEDas it represents the sole Kurdish-language television station available inTurkey.

[315][315]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[316][316]Interview,Diyarbak-r, August 1997.

[317][317]Interview,August 1997, Istanbul. The logic behind the statement is that those most inneed of a Kurdish-language paper, i.e. those with weak or non-existent Turkish,are usually illiterate in Kurdish and too poor to purchase a newspaper.

[318][318]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[319][319]Interview,Ankara, August 1997.

[320][320]The editorial policy of Hêvi is sympathetic to the Socialist Party of Kurdistan(SPK) of Kemal Burkay, presently a non-violent political party. The party isoutlawed in Turkey, and its leader lives in exile.

[321][321]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997. Though not legally recognized as such, there have beenvarious incarnations of the paper. Previous papers include the following: Deng(Voice), December 1989; Azadi (Freedom), 1991, published 104 issues then closeddown by court order; Deng Azadi (Voice of Freedom), forty-two published, thenclosed; Ronahi, 1995, seventy-two published, closed.

[322][322]Welat(Country), was a Kurdish-language weekly that published 115 issues from1992-94. The responsible editor of the publication, Mazhar Günbat, wassentenced in two different cases under Articles 312 and 8 of the Anti-TerrorLaw. He has since left Turkey, and the paper was closed by court order. Itssuccessor, Welatê Me (My Country), which published forty-six issues in 1994 and1995, also faced legal pressure. The paper's owner, Aynur Bozkurt, was finedTL100 million under Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law, and the responsible editor,Mehmet Gemsiz, was sentenced to two years, six months under Article 312 andArticle 7 of the Anti-Terror Law. He fled abroad as well, and the paper wasclosed. Since January 1996, the paper has been publishing under the name,Azadiya Welat (Free Country). As of January 1999, the publication wasconfiscated three times and there were five cases pending against it. In one ofthese cases, which ended on January 25, the court sentenced the responsibleeditor to one year of imprisonment and a 3 billion 50 million TL fine (U.S.$9298) and banned the publication of the paper for ten days. Azadiya Welatappealed the verdict. Interview with the paper's editor-in-chief, Sami Tan,Istanbul, August 1997; Interview with Azadiya Welat, January 1999.

[323][323]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[324][324]Interview,Istanbul, November 1997.

[325][325]ThroughAugust 1997.

[326][326]Interview,Istanbul, August 1997.

[327][327]SeeArticle 4.

[328][328]Finelater increased three times according to Turkish Penal Code Article 119.

[329][329]Finelater increased three times.

[330][330]Finelater increased three times.

[331][331]Parliamentamended the Anti-Terror Law in October 1995. Before its amendment, Article 8punished all so-called separatist propaganda "regardless of the method, intent,or idea behind it."

[332][332]Until1993, television and radio broadcasting was state controlled under Article 133of the constitution. In 1993, parliament amended Article 133 to allow forprivate radio and television stations.

This report examines the state of free expression in Turkey. It focuses largely on the print andbroadcast media, and to a lesser extent on freedom of speech in politics. The report deals with theperiod from 1995 to the present; when necessary, however, earlier periods are also explored.Given the plethora and ideological breadth of the media and of political parties in Turkey, thisstudy cannot hope to deal with each and every newspaper, author, or political group. Rather, ituses representative cases to highlight violations of the internationally-protected right to freeexpression. The press in Turkey, in the vernacular of psychiatry, suffers from multiplepersonality disorder. When reporting on the vast majority of issues, such as domestic partypolitics or the economy, the media today is lively and unrestricted, indeed often sensational.Nearly all points of view are expressed, from radical Islamist to Kurdish-nationalist anddyed-in-the-wool Kemalist. The boundaries of criticism are nearly limitless when reporting onmost issues. Such freedom, however, ends at the border of a number of sensitive topics.Alongside the arena of free discussion there is a danger zone where many who criticize acceptedstate policy face possible state persecution. Risky areas include the role of Islam in politics andsociety, Turkey's ethnic Kurdish minority and the conflict in southeastern Turkey, the nature ofthe state, and the proper role of the military.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.